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Why More than 200 Students on a Scholarship from Nigeria are Stranded Abroad

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) scholarship program was developed to fund the study of marginalized young people from Nigeria’s oil-rich Delta region in studies that could aid its development. Despite accounting for 70% of Nigeria government revenue, the Niger Delta remains impoverished and faces numerous challenges such as oil spills, gas flares and vandalism. The NDDC was established to drive the development of the region. The NDDC agency is currently embroiled in a multimillion-dollar corruption probe. Nigeria’s President Buhari has ordered a forensic audit of the commission’s activities from 2001 to 2019 after it was unable to account for around $209 million spent in less than a year. Kemebradikumo Pondei, the acting managing director of NDDC last month appeared to faint while taking questions from Nigeria’s lawmakers on how the agency spent around $100 million in the past few months. While responding to questions on the students’ scholarships and other incidents of unaccounted spending, he slumped, causing chaos in the room and forcing the investigative hearing to be stopped temporarily.