President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to pay the fees and stipends of Nigerian students on scholarship abroad.
NDDC spokesman Charles Odili in a statement on Tuesday said the president gave the order to the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs Godswill Akpabio following protest by the students on Monday.
Mr Odili said the students would be paid by the end of the week, explaining that the delay was caused by the death of the NDDC acting executive director of finance and administration Ibanga Etang in May.
“Under the Commission’s finance protocol, only the Executive Director (Finance) and the Executive Director (Projects) can sign for the release of funds from the Commission’s domiciliary accounts with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN,” the statement read.
“With the death of Chief Etang, the remittance has to await the appointment of a new EDFA. Senator Akpabio, the Honourable Minister, said President Buhari who has been briefed on the protest by students at the Nigerian High Commission in London, has ordered that all stops be pulled to pay the students by the end of this week. We expect a new EDFA to be appointed this week. As soon as that is done, they would all be paid.”
Odili said NDDC had extended an invitation to Buhari to inaugurate the 29-kilometre Ogbia-Nembe Road in Bayelsa State, noting that the road was built in conjunction with the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to create a land link to the ancient city of Nembe for the first time.
Odili said the road project, which cost N24 billion, cutting through swampy terrain to connect 14 other communities, needed 10 bridges and 99 culverts.
The spokesman further said the list of NDDC contracts handled by members of the National Assembly came from the files in the commission and not made up by Akpabio.
He assured that the forensic audit on the NDDC is on course.