The minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio has revealed that plans are underway to review foreign scholarship programmes offered by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Akpabio said funds used for the training of a few students abroad would now be channelled into training thousands of students in Nigerian universities.
The minister revealed the planned review when he addressed newsmen in Port Harcourt in preparation for the inauguration of the 13-floor N16 billion new NDDC office building.
He said that the decision to review the commission’s scholarship programme became necessary going by the millions of foreign currency spent to train a few students abroad.
“Last year alone, NDDC spent about $12 million to pay school fees for students overseas under its postgraduate scholarship scheme.
“Instead of spending $20,000 to train one student per year abroad, we can use that same money to train more students that are doing well in Nigerian universities.
“We should not spend money to send students abroad to go and study the English Language when we can use that same money to train hundreds or thousands in our local universities.
“We can only send students abroad on specialised courses and courses we don’t have in Nigeria,” he said.
Mr. Akpabio said that training students abroad was no longer ideal as most countries had introduced strict restrictions to check the COVID-19 pandemic.
The review, the minister said, is part of the many changes that would happen in NDDC when the forensic auditors submit their report in a few months’ time.
“So, when you look at NDDC, it is not just the mismanagement of resources but also the corruption associated with its policies and operations,” he added.