Every year, thousands of students from the Niger-Delta region apply for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Oversea Postgraduate Scholarship. For the fortunate few who are selected, after the thorough screening and interview, it is a happy moment. Recipents of the prestigious NDDC postgraduate scholarship at Masters and Doctoral level begin a new phase for study in top countries like the United Kingdom, France, Germany and China.
In recent times, there have been a lot of issues about the NDDC postgraduate scholarship. After the stringent screening, many winners are faced with the problem of poor planning and execution by the Niger-Delta Development Commission. This usually turns happy recipents to sour students.
Not too long ago, Sahara Reporters reported that recipents of the 2018 NDDC scholarships were been threatened because of the inability to pay their fees. In some cases, a student has had the admission withdrawn and face imminent deportation. Although, NDDC in a press report refuted the claims but accepted it had a challenge in disbursement of funds from the CBN.
This back and forth is obviously a night mare to NDDC scholars and a show of shame by the authorities involved. Recipents who were called to a farewell party as reported on this blog last year were simply dispered without adequate financial support.
The 2018 NDDC postgraduate scholarship recipents started the process with their funds. Securing admission in foreign universities along with getting the visa comes at a cost. The idea is that NDDC scholars begin the process, while the reimbursement would follow not long after.
Each recipent going for the Doctorate is supposed to received N28,050,000 while those going for Master’s degree would receive N9,180,000. The breakdown of the money shows that each recipent would get N10,000 for transportation, N500,000 as take-off grant and $30,000 for MSc while PhD will be given $30,000 for three years.
This is not the first time such funding challenge would bedevil the postgraduate scholarship recipents. Two years ago, NDDC PhD scholars were reported to have protested at the Nigerian High Commission in London. The protest seemed to be a last resort has they faced withdrawal from studies and deportation because of the inability to meet up their financial responsibilities. These students had depended on the Niger-Delta Development Commission to pay for the fees but it was not forth coming.
The trauma of becoming stranded in a foreign country is an albatross to whatever goodwill NDDC had in mind. Studying in a foreign country on scholarship but getting deported would surely be too hard to swallow. In fact, the threats of such deportation is totally unnerving. Scholars wouldn’t be able to concentrate on their academic studies or produce stellar performance. Students could also get involved in distracting business activities to raise funds, or in a worse case, get involved in crime.
Consequently, this improper financial planning by NDDC leaves an unpalatable taste on scholars and their families. It also robs off the shine of prestige on the NDDC postgraduate scholarship. In subsequent years, applicants needs to be weary of the possible challenge in the NDDC scholarship program. Students should count the cost before committing to it.
Finally, the NDDC needs a revamp. The challenge of funding to NDDC postgraduate scholars should solved by pre-plann with the organization’s yearly budget. The reoccurring decimal of students becoming financially stranded needs a final stop. This would raise the trust of applicants for the NDDC PG scholarship and bring it at par with global scholarship programs like the Common Wealth Scholarship.