The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) says it has paid over N2 billion to settle outstanding stipends and fees owed to students under its Foreign Post-Graduate Scholarship Programme.
The commission said the programme had awarded scholarship to thousands of indigent Niger Delta graduates to study in universities abroad since its launch in 2010.
NDDC’s Acting Managing Director, Prof. Nelson Brambaifa, said this in a statement issued in Port Harcourt by the commission’s Director of Corporate Affairs, Charles Odili, on Friday.
Brambaifa was quoted to having made the statement when he visited candidates writing the commission’s scholarship computer-based tests at the Rivers State University (RSU) ICT Centre in Port Harcourt.
“We are here at the RSU ICT Centre as part of our on-the-spot assessment of the scholarship process.
“NDDC have made payment (N2 billion) for NDDC scholars following the resolution of issues with the Central Bank of Nigeria which delayed remittance of the funds to the universities.
“The scholarship programme equips graduates of Niger Delta origin with relevant training, skills and capacity building for improved education standard in the region,” Brambaifa said.
He said of the 5,000 candidates that applied for the programme that 3,112 candidates had been selected to take part in the 2019 exercise.
The managing director said he had recently led a NDDC delegation on a five-day working visit to some universities in the United Kingdom as part of commitment to the scholarship programme.
“The visit afforded the NDDC team an opportunity to deepen the existing relationships with the foreign universities and take advantage of other mutually beneficial programmes,” he added.
Mr Godson Ideozu, Consultant to the NDDC scholarship programme, said the commission adopted the computer-based test to boost transparency of the exercise.
He said that candidates seeking for scholarships in Masters’ and Doctorate degrees courses were examined primarily in their core area of study.
“The exercise is fair and gives applicants equal opportunity to compete. Also, candidates get to see their scores immediately after writing the examination,” he said.
NDDC Assistant Director, Education, Health and Social Services, Mrs Seledi Wakama said the scheme was part of NDDC’s human resources development initiatives.
She said no fewer than 200 successful candidates who passed both the aptitude and oral test would bag their scholarships.