By Chidinma Chukwu, Abuja.
Local contractors in Nigeria today staged a protest demanding the payment of projects executed for the federal government over the last ten years.
The group alleged that the federal government awarded various types of contracts to local contractors in various ministries, departments and agencies, the contracts have been executed so far. Some executed as far back as ten years ago while they are yet to collect their money.
Briefing journalists in Abuja, the Public Relation Officer of the group, Prince Roland Dandy explained that the monies some of the local contractors use to execute the contracts were borrowed from banks and its interest has accumulated as a result of the delay in payment.
He added that over 5,000 members are presently passing through severe life threatening situations which they can not attend to due to lack of funds.
“As a result of withholding this payment, many local contractors have died. Many are hospitalized and can’t afford medical bills.
We are family men and women and we can’t take care of our families, our children have dropped out from school because we can’t afford school fees.
Many local contractors have lost their homes to banks and creditors, because they can’t pay back the loans collected.
Many others are facing charges in various courts across the nation for funds borrowed and unable to pay back.
Some have fled their homes for fear of being attacked by those they collected friendly loan and can’t pay back in years” he noted.
The local contractors said despite the approval of funds by President Mohammadu Buhari to the federal ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to offset some of the debts last year, the ministry has still refused to pay.
“Local contractors borrowed money from banks with interest and executed these contracts, but up till this moment government has not paid us.
Our continuous cries and appeal for payment attracted the attention of Mr. President who inaugurated Presidential Initiative on Continues Audit (PICA) in the federal ministry of finance to verify these contracts. PICA has since verified these contracts and recommended for the settlement of the local contractors liabilities in batches, beginning with 10 million downwards” he noted.
National Treasurer, Josephine Odowhinde explained that the contractors have pleaded severally with the ministry but it seems all their pleas fell on deaf ears.
“We pass a vote of confidence to Hajia Zanab and we are giving her fourteen days to pay us our money or resign” She said.
They however appealed to President Buhari to order the Minister of finance, Hajia Zainab Ahmed to release monies meant for local contractors in the country.