Some 94 beneficiaries of the Niger Delta Development Commission’s foreign postgraduate scheme, who are yet to be paid by the commission, have said that their transcripts have been seized by their respective institutions due to the non-payment of their tuition.
The agency had at the end of August confirmed the payment of $5.90m to settle the fees of 143 foreign scholars, some of whom stretch back to 2016.
The Interim Management Committee overseeing the affairs of the commission had said prior to the confirmation of payment for the 143, that it was skeptical about paying over $7m to settle the outstanding payments.
The agency’s head of Corporate Affairs, Charles Odili, said the commission needed to understand why there was an astronomical rise in the monies paid out to the foreign scholars.
According to him, the last two managements of the agency paid $1.9m and $3.4m respectively.
Whenever the commission decides to pay the 2.82m owed the 94 beneficiaries, it would swell the total payment to $8.72m.
The students have since countered the IMC’s position, saying every payment made by the government was verified by the admitting school.
All 94 scholars whose tuition are yet to be settled – 40 PHD and 54 MSC are from the 2018 set, who say they have been frustrated by the NDDC.
“I have finished since July but the school will not release our transcripts and certificates unless we pay,” one of the students said. “It’s so tiring. Honestly, I just want to leave.”
The 2018 foreign scholars have been plagued by hardships caused by the refusal of the NDDC to make payments as at when due.
Two of the students had their studentship in the Universities of Coventry and Leeds revoked last year because the NDDC failed to pay their registration fees.
Many of them were logged out of their school portals.
They told SaharaReporters that they were unsure of where meals would come from.