The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in Nigeria sponsors scholars from the region to study in the UK. The NDDC aims to take these students to learn and bring their qualifications back to the economy. Qualification into the scheme means the NDDC caters for the students’ flights, tuition fees and accommodation until their return to the country. However, the students who have been in the scheme say this is not the case once they got to the UK.
NDDC: A Blessing That Turned Out to Be A curse.
Nneoma had always dreamed of being in such an environment from a young age. She’s on the Niger Delta Development Commission in Nigeria. However, when she got to the UK everything she anticipated and more didn’t go as expected. The blessing turned out to be a curse. She was looking forward to doing some good work, but unfortunately, she always has to think of how to get by; therefore, it becomes impossible. Nneoma and others claim they do not receive the financial support they were told before coming to study.
“In the very least we had an understanding that they would pay the fees, they would pay the stipends for living expenses. We had this understanding before leaving Nigeria,” said another student.
However, when the students inquire, they are told the commission is working hard to make sure they get their mobilization allowance. The mobilization allowance is meant to take care of their flights and visa application before they leave.
Every Time I Get an Email, My Heart Skips a Beat.
The students were last paid their allowance in April. They have not received any allowance after that. The money was paid after they had been in the UK for seven or eight months, so it came in really late. The students expected in the very least, the NDDC would take care of their financial issues.
“Every time that I get an email from the school, my heart skips a beat because I don’t know what am going to get on the invoice,” said Nneoma.
She is afraid that the school may tell her they can’t reach her sponsor. Therefore, move the debt to her account, forcing her to pay the amount by herself. She is afraid if this happens, she will not be able to pay the debt. After all, if she could, then she wouldn’t have applied for the program.
Living in Constant Fear.
Nneoma also has to keep explaining herself over and over again, she receives an email from the school, and it’s becoming harder for her. She asks the school to give her a little more time because the sponsor is taking time to sort out the issue. Nneoma is always afraid of what will happen next.
“I am a good person, but I sometimes feel that they may probably look at me and say I may not be able to pay the fees; therefore they may have to take the next step. I am always living in constant fear of being seen as a person who lacks integrity,” says Nneoma.
Cases of Late Payment.
This isn’t the first time that the NDCC has been accused of making late payments. These cases were also seen in 2016. The commission is currently having its activities investigated after an order by President Muhammadu Buhari. The NDCC however, remains quiet and refuses to comment about the situation.
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