By IGHO OYOYO |
Some contractors who supplied COVID-19 Machines and Protective Personal Equipment (PPE) yesterday staged a peaceful protest barricading the entrance to the FCT minister’s office, demanding the payment of their contract money from the FCT administration.
The protesting contractors in their numbers, who lamented that the payment has delayed for over a year, said all their efforts have been washed down the drain.
They carried placards with different inscriptions, “FCTA Perm Sec., Enough is Enough,” “Schools were reopened because of our supplies, FCTA pay us,” amongst others.
As early as 8am, over 300 angry contractors stormed the Area 11 secretariat where the offices of the FCT minister and that of the permanent secretary are located and barricaded the main entrance.
Mr. Dan Dayo, secretary and spokesperson of the aggrieved contractors, accused the FCTA management of reneging on the agreement of prompt payment after two weeks of supplies.
According to the contractors, the management allegedly demanded upfront payment from contractors and even threatened to pay 80 per cent of the contract sums in the guise of some unrealistic proposals.
The aggrieved contractors alleged that the permanent secretary had been do selective payment to some favoured contractors.
Dayo alleged some members had been approached to pay N1 million bribe for their payments to be processed.
“This is one year running (and) nothing (paid to us). What we are hearing is that each of the contractor has to pay N1 million bribe before we can be paid.
“We are demanding for 100 per cent payment of all the COVID-19 files without batching. FCT authorities should pay up all monies within a week to the COVID-19 contractors,” he said.
However, the FCT administration yesterday reaffirmed its commitment to pay all outstanding liabilities owed contractors who supplied various items in the battle against COVID-19 pandemic in the territory.
FCTA permanent secretary, Mr. Olusade Adesola, made this commitment when he addressed the aggrieved contractors.
Adesola, who appealed to the contractors to exercise patience, however, revealed that despite the challenges of funding, the administration had paid 109 contractors who supplied PPE to Health and Human Services Secretariat (HHSS) and 54 contractors in other Secretariats, Departments and Agencies (SDAs).
He hinged the delay in payments to dwindling internal revenue generation and expected funds from the federal government, even as he expressed optimism that the contractors would be paid as soon as possible.