Nigerian students, who are beneficiaries of the scholarship programme of the Niger Delta Development Commission, have again held a protest to demand the immediate payment of their funds.
The scholars are accusing the NDDC of deliberately omitting 95 of them from the payment.
The students converged at the Nigerian High Commission in London, bearing placards with different inscriptions.
After a presidential directive, the NDDC paid arrears of 2016 set as well as 2019 sets with 95 of 2018 sets left unpaid.
The commission’s Head of Corporate Affairs, Charles Odili, on Friday said the commission was verifying the status of the students and will pay them.
Odili described the students as “hirelings, most of whom are masquerading as the commission’s scholars”, adding that they are part of a campaign orchestrated by powerful individuals against the commission.
The protesting scholars condemned the commission for describing them as hirelings, saying, “We are not hirelings, we are not thugs and we are not shenanigans; we are Nigerians scholars in Diaspora asking for the payment of our 24 months overdue tuitions and upkeep but NDDC has refused to pay.”
The scholars accused the commission of handpicking those to pay while leaving them out from the President’s directive to pay all scholars.
The scholars urged the Presidency and the National Assembly to mandate the NDDC to ensure the payment of 2018 set as they were at risk of forfeiting their certificates.
The 2018 foreign scholars have been plagued by hardship caused by the refusal of the NDDC to make payments as at when due.
Two of the students had their studentship in the Universities of Coventry and Leeds revoked last year because the NDDC failed to pay their registration fees.
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Many of them were logged out of their school portals.
They told SaharaReporters that they were unsure of where meals would come from.
They also said their academic transcripts had been seized due to the non-payment of their tuition.