President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to pay the fees and stipends of scholars of the commission who are facing hardships abroad.
The Director of Corporate Affairs at the NDDC, Charles Odili, disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday.
This followed a protest by the students recently in the United Kingdom who called on the President to intervene in the matter.
“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,” Odili said in the statement.
He also has explained the rationale behind the delay in remittance of the fees of the scholars, saying their fees and stipends would be paid by the end of the week.
Odili revealed that the delay was caused by the sudden death of the then acting Executive Director of Finance and Administration (EDFA), Ibanga Etang, in May.
He said, “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).
“With the death of Chief Etang, the remittance has to await the appointment of a new EDFA. We expect a new EDFA to be appointed this week. As soon as that is done, they would all be paid.”.
Controversial NDDC Contracts
On the list of NDDC contracts handled by members of the National Assembly, Odili claimed that the one submitted by Akpabio was not compiled by the minister but came from the files in the Commission.
He alleged that the list submitted to the National Assembly was actually compiled by the then management of the commission in 2018.
The NDDC spokesman noted that there was another set of lists for emergency project contracts awarded in 2017 and 2019, but they were not submitted to the lawmakers.
“The Interim Management Committee, IMC, of the Commission stands by the list, which came from files already in the possession of the forensic auditors.
“It is not an Akpabio list but the NDDC’s list. The list is part of the volume of 8,000 documents already handed over to the forensic auditors,” he said.
Odili insisted that the list did not include the “unique case of 250 contracts” which were signed for and collected in one day by one person allegedly for members of the National Assembly.
Source: Channels Television