Some Nigerian students, who are yet to receive funding back home for their postgraduate scholarship in the United Kingdom, are currently protesting in front of the Nigerian High Commission, London.
The protesting students, about 34 of them, have blocked the three entrances to the embassy’s building, PREMIUM TIMES gathered.
They were yet to be addressed by the officials of the embassy as at the time of filing this report.
The protesting students are among the 94 students of the Batch 2018 of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) foreign scholarship programme who are yet to receive tuition and allowance for their upkeep from their sponsor – the NDDC.
Their scholarship has not been funded at all, for two years now, while other students in succeeding batches have received remittances from the NDDC.
This is the second time in about a month that the students are protesting at the Nigerian High Commission over the yet to be resolved issue.
The last time the students protested was in September where they displayed their scholarship award letter to prove that they were not “hirelings masquerading as the Commission’s scholars” as alleged by the NDDC management.
The NDDC management, which appeared to have had information that the students were planning a protest, issued a statement on Friday explaining the delay in the release of funds for the scholarship.
The commission appealed for understanding and patience from the students.
“Having concluded the verification exercise, which involved the registration of all scholars and the confirmation of their claims with the various universities, payment of the outstanding fees were to commence immediately.
“Unfortunately, some unforeseen circumstances, including the upheavals that followed the EndSARS protests by youths, constituted stumbling blocks for the speedy implementation of the payment plan,” said the statement which was signed by the NDDC spokesperson, Charles Odili.
Continuing, the NDDC said, “Before the protests, which slowed down activities, the NDDC Interim Management Committee, IMC, had released $5,910,000 million through the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to offset all the verified outstanding foreign scholarship obligations, despite the non-passage of NDDC 2020 budget by the National Assembly.
“Obviously, the CBN was not immune to the sad realities bedeviling the nation in the past few weeks. However, the bank has promised to treat the case of the scholarship beneficiaries with utmost dispatch.
“We appeal for understanding and patience from the students. We urge them not to allow themselves to be used as tools by those sponsoring devious campaigns to discredit the IMC through protests at the Nigerian Embassy in London.
“We re-affirm our commitment to the Post Graduate scholarship Scheme, which is part of our efforts to develop professional manpower to help in the transformation of the Niger Delta region,” the commission said.