Two Weeks after it was ordered to pay some young Nigerians studying on scholarship in the United Kingdom their allowances and tuition, the Niger Delta Development Commission is yet to fulfill that mandate.
The non-payment is coming despite a directive by the Acting Managing Director of the commission, Prof Kemebradikumo Pondei, who ordered the immediate payment of all fees and allowances to all beneficiaries of its scholarship scheme.
SaharaReporters had published how about 210 beneficiaries of the 2019 NDDC scholarship programme were yet to receive payment eight months after.
While the 2019 beneficiaries of the scheme are owed eight months allowances, some 2018 beneficiaries have also not received payment one year after.
The students, who are mostly studying in the United Kingdom, currently risk being deported to Nigeria while their academic program are terminated.
SaharaReporters gathered that the commission is yet to pay departure fee, registration fee as well as tuition of beneficiaries of the scholarship.
Some of the affected persons told SaharaReporters that the commission said the outbreak of Coronavirus was hindering the processing of the funds.
"The excuse NDDC is giving is that the lockdown was affecting payment as they need to physically be in CBN to implement the process.
"A scholar will soon be thrown out of his accommodation because he doesn't have money to continue payment.
"The hope of the directive given by the MD has now been dashed as the representative of the commission recently updated us in our official Telegram platform that though the entire paperwork and approval had been completed, the NDDC was not able to transmit the hard copies to the CBN for payment due to the COVID-19 nationwide lockdown," one of the beneficiaries said.
A staff of the commission, who asked not to be named, said the fund was with the Central Bank of Nigeria for processing and payment.
The stranded students are urging the Nigerian Government to direct the CBN to immediately process and disburse the funds to them to prevent the termination of their academic programmes and eventual deportation from the United Kingdom.