See Why people are using NNDC’s foreign scholarship scheme to defraud govt

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​The Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Nsima Ekere, has claimed that some people are using the Commission’s scholarship scheme to defraud the government because those on the programme are paid in foreign currency.

Ekere raised the alarm while addressing journalists at the NDDC’s Headquarters in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

According to Ekere, “They pretend to be NDDC scholars, when indeed they are not. So this is the problem that we have had and that is why some of the scholars didn’t get their money in time.”

The NDDC boss also pledged to sustain the funding of the Commission’s foreign scholarship programme which started seven years ago, adding that scholars who are properly enrolled into the scheme would not be abandoned.

In line with the promise, Ekere said that over 80 per cent of the disbursements have been made, adding that all genuine NDDC scholars would definitely receive their due disbursements.

He said, “It might take time and we regret the delay and hardships, but we are doing everything possible to ensure that we release the funds to them as soon as possible.”

Ekere also sympathized with the honest scholars who were caught up in the delays, assuring that where genuine cases were identified, they would be treated immediately.

He said, “We understand what they are going through and the hardships they have had to face and we also seek their understanding because a lot of people abused the scholarship scheme.

“We discovered that there were a lot of discrepancies in the way the scholarship program was being administered. We award scholarships for studies abroad but you find out that money were paid to people who were still in Nigeria. We didn’t see why that should happen.

“There were other cases where people got admission for a certain courses in a certain schools and then along the line, because there is a fixed amount that is paid to every scholar, some of them will go to a different university for a different program other than what the scholarship is for, just because maybe the school is cheaper. So in our records here, we may see that the scholar is probably in the University of Aberdeen, meanwhile we are getting an invoice from a university in Canada.”

Ekere noted that the scholarship scheme was borne out of the need to bridge the huge manpower deficit in the Niger Delta region, especially in Engineering, Science and Technology, EST.

“We have certain areas we want to concentrate on because we want to develop professional manpower. We discover that some of them have gone for other courses different from what the scholarship was for. So these are some of the areas and we set up a committee to look at and try to resolve,” he added.
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