Not fewer than 168 students awarded the 2016 Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Scholarship has been stranded abroad.
In a letter sent by the student group to SaharaReporters, NDDC has failed to fulfil the pledge made to the students in October 2016 which included the payment of tuition, travelling and living expenses.
Eight months after the pledge, not a dime has been paid by NDDC, the students said.
“We are indeed very weary of the long wait and dejected by the embarrassment this has caused us in our various universities abroad. The said scholarship funds were provided for in the 2016 budget, however, 5 months into 2017 we still have not been paid. One can only imagine that the delay is deliberate to enrich the pockets of those causing the needless delays,” one of the students wrote anonymously to SaharaReporters.
In December 2016, some of the students paid a visit to the Commission in Nigeria seeking to get an update on the payment.
“We were told that the funds were being processed and promised that it shall be disbursed soonest.”
That promise remains unkept.
Last month some of the students protested by going on hunger strike, and NDDC paid 32 scholars out of the 200 awardees, keeping the remaining 168 students in delayed expectation.
The students said they are still shocked that their country can desert them in a foreign land for eight months without survival means.
While some of the students are already denied admission because of the non-reliance of the NDDC award letters by their institutions, others may soon lose studentship and immigrant status in their host countries, they said.
Despite the default, NDDC has again announced the 2017 scholarship program on its tweeter page, calling for applicants who applied to study Medicine, Geosciences, Agricultural Sciences, Information Technology, Engineering, Law, Environmental Sciences and management Sciences.
SaharaReporters is yet to get a response from Director, Education, Health and Social Services (NDDC) who supervises the scheme.
The students have however appealed to the presidency for a quick intervention.