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Buhari directs NDDC to pay stranded scholars abroad

By Idowu Abdullahi,

Barely 24 hours after protesting alleged neglect and abandonment, President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to pay its stranded scholars studying abroad.

The President’s directive followed the scholarship students protest at the Nigeria High Commission office in London yesterday where they decried alleged abandonment and halt in payment of their tuition and upkeep allowances by the commission.

However, concerned by the plight of the NDDC scholarship beneficiaries, the President through a directive by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, ordered the commission to ensure prompt payment of the stranded students’ allowances and upkeep.

Confirming the directive, the NDDC Director, Corporate Affairs, Charles Odili, said that the delay in disbursing their fund was occasioned by the death of commission’s Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration, EDFA, Ibanga Etang, in May.

Odili, through a statement released to newsmen on Tuesday, assured that the students would be paid by the end of the week after the appointment of a new director of finance and administration.

“Under the Commission’s finance protocol, only the Executive Director (Finance) and the Executive Director (Projects) can sign for the release of funds from the Commission’s domiciliary accounts with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

“With the death of Chief Etang, the remittance has to await the appointment of a new EDFA. Senator Akpabio, the Honourable Minister, said President Buhari who has been briefed on the protest by students at the Nigerian High Commission in London, has ordered that all stops be pulled to pay the students by the end of this week. We expect a new EDFA to be appointed this week. As soon as that is done, they would all be paid,” the statement read.

 

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