About 200 contractors, on Monday, protested at the office of the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Abuja, blocking the major entrances over unpaid sum for the supplies of COVID-19 medical and non-medical items 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, Olusade Adesola, of being responsible for their travail.
Ewoma Micheal and Dan Dayo, who spoke on behalf of the protesters, said Adesola has been paying some of the contractors, especially those who had agreed to receive part 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 items 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, Nelcy Mokwenye and Emmanuel Nwachendu, two of the contractors accused the FCTA of demanding N1 million bribe before they would be paid.
They stressed that there is no justification for the delay of their payments one year after supplying the items, noting that it was stated in the agreement signed with the authorities that they would be paid 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.
However, Adesola denied asking any of the contractors to pay bribe.
He said that the delay in the payment of 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.