There had rift between contractors handling projects for the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC and the commission in the region over alleged non-payment of accumulated funds for contracts executed by the contractors, for the past five years.
The group had appealed to the Federal Government to cancel all fresh jobs awarded by the previous board, Noting that it was no use awarding new jobs when jobs awarded several years ago had not been paid for.
As a result of the accumulated debt owed the contractors, the aggravated group on Tuesday staged a peaceful protest at the commission’s head office on Aba Road, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, to acquaint the new acting Managing Director of the commission, Mrs Ibim Semenitari, of their plight.
Mr. Joe Adia, President of the body, who spoke on behalf of the group, lamented that most of them were being owed for jobs done between three and five years ago, adding that some of them had even died out of frustration.
“We welcome the new acting Managing Director. We want her to know that the major problem is that contractors have been owed for about five years. The Interim Payment Certificates, IPM, for some of them are missing, all because of the delay in payment. We want President Muhammadu Buhari to know that our major problem is payment,” Adia said.
The contractors made their appeal to the Federal Government to effectively fund the commission, stressing the need for the government to release accurate amounts budgeted for the commission annually.
The group’s president said, “They have awarded projects for 2015 in the budget. We are saying that this should be cancelled. They should focus on payment of contractors. The Federal Government should fund NDDC properly. They will announce a budget for NDDC in billions but at the end of the day, the cash that will be released will be far less. This is not right. They should release what they announce as budgeted.
“Contractors are the people to suffer if anything happens to NDDC. The workers will look for another job. So the acting MD should focus on payment of contractors.”
In the course of filling this report, efforts made to contact the spokesperson of the commission for further clarifications proved abortive as all calls forwarded to him did not yield any response.