Up to 200 contractors on Monday protested at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister’s office in Abuja, blocking the major entrances over unpaid contract sum of the COVID-19 medical and non-medical supplies to the FCT Administration.
The contractors, who claimed they executed various COVID-19 contracts for the FCT Administration between March 2020 and April 2021, without being paid, accused the FCT Permanent Secretary, Mr Olusade Adesola, of being behind their travail.
- Slain soldiers: Benue hands over 4 to police for questioning
- 8 repentant militants, kidnappers become pastors
Messrs Ewoma Micheal and Dan Dayo, who spoke on behalf of the protesters also said that the permanent secretary has been paying some of the contractors, especially those who had agreed to received parts of their payments at the detriment of other contractors.
They lamented that some of them contracted the virus, while supplying the various medical equipment and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and other things used in containing the pandemic in the FCT.
“What we heard initially was that procurement process was suspended and this money was supposed to have been paid within two weeks, maximum one month, of supply. Some of us took loans to be able to meet up with the supply,” Dayo said.
Also, Chief Nelcy Mokwenye and Mr. Emmanuel Nwachendu, said that the accusation of N1m bribe before they would be paid was also true and that there is no reason for the delay in payment of their monies one year after the supply despite that officials in the agreements signed stated that their payments would be done two weeks after the supply, once they submit their invoices.
“This is one year running nothing, what we are hearing is that each of the contractors has to pay N1 million bribe to the Permanent Secretary before we can be paid. That without the N1 million bribe, you won’t get paid,” Nwachendu said.
Reacting, the Permanent Secretary, Mr Olusade, denied ever asking anybody for a N1m bribe.
He said that the delay in the payment for the contractors was due to their failure to meet all the administrative requirements.
“I am not aware of any payment of N1m. The only instruction I gave was that all documents should be in a file before any payment can be made. The payment is in batches, we have paid others. Contractors below N10m have been paid, if there are issues, the contractors are the cause because they are yet to meet up with the requirements,” Olusade said.