The Act for Positive Transformation Initiative, a civil society organisation, has raised the alarm over the delay in the payment of Nigerian scholars abroad by the Niger Delta Development Commission.
The CSO, in a statement by Kolawole Johnson, Head, Directorate of Research, Strategy and Programme, drew the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari to the non-payment of the scholars.
Kolawole urged the President to intervene and save the scholars whose genuine demands were being ignored by the commission.
Kolawole criticised the “unnecessary drama” surrounding the payment of NDDC scholars in foreign countries.
He blamed the delay on the commission’s officials, accusing them of plundering the resources of the people.
Kolawole recalled that the commission issued a statement attributing the delay in payment to verification of scholars which the acting Director of Projects, Dr Cairo Ojougboh, went to London to carry out in September 2020.
According to him, the financial irregularities in the commission are enough to sack and prosecute the members of management in line with the government’s fight against corruption.
When contacted, the spokesman for the NDDC, Charles Odili, in a text message sent to the News Agency of Nigeria said that bulk of the money for the scholars had been paid.
He blamed the delay in the payment of the balance on #EndSARS protest saying that the process was interrupted by the protest.
“The commission had paid a substantial sum, the remainder had to undergo an evaluation process to determine genuine beneficiaries.
“We activated the payment process with the Central Bank of Nigeria. The bank was unable to follow through as a result of the #EndSARS protest and the attendant nationwide upheavals.
“The issue will be sorted out presently,” the text message read.
Odili, however, did not react to the alleged corruption and financial irregularities in the commission as alleged by the CSO.