Nigerian students, who benefitted from the scholarship programme by the Niger Delta Development Commission, held a protest in the United Kingdom to demand the immediate payment of their tuition and other fees by the commission.
The 2018 and 2019 scholars lamented that they had been abandoned by the government and left to survive in foreign countries without necessary allowance paid by the NDDC.
They also revealed that the commission had failed to process and release their tuition, which has led to the ejection and warning to cancel their scholarship programmes.
The scholars picketed the Nigerian High Commission, London, to make known their anger to the government.
In a Save Our Soul letter to President Muhammadu Buhari by the scholars, the 2018 beneficiaries of NDDC said that despite promises by the NDDC to pay their scholarship tuition, the commission did not do so.
“Your Excellency, we have continually been harassed by series of letters from our institutions threatening to withdraw their service. Some students have not been very lucky as the responsibility for the payment of their tuition has been transferred to them with strict timelines and conditions.
“For over ten (10) months, scholars have been subjected to all kinds of dehumanising challenges now compounded by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Scholars now struggle to feed themselves, pay for accommodation and bills. Since the pandemic and subsequent global lockdown, the part-time jobs that many engaged in for survival have all been lost.
“We are now losing focus and depressed due to the fear of being evicted from our schools and subsequent deportation.
“Your Excellency, Mr President Sir, it is important to add that while the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) ensures that their scholars’ tuition and upkeep are paid as at when due, NDDC has abandoned its scholars bringing the name of our dear country to great disrepute and dishonour before our schools,” the letter jointly sent by the scholars to President Buhari reads partly.
They demanded that President Buhari prevail on the management of NDDC to “respond to emails from our respective schools as they at the verge of terminating the admission of most students and are beginning to question the authenticity of our certificate of award.
“Effect the payment of our tuition and upkeep allowances as soon as possible and ensure that the Central Bank of Nigeria implement the same foreign exchange rate applicable to the recent 2019 awardees as there exist a discrepancy on our NDDC Scholarship Online Portal with no tangible reason given.
“Ensure that all 2018 and 2019 awardees are paid at the same time and not in Batches”.