COVID-19 palliatives: Contractors protest non payment at FCTA
Protest has hit the Federal Capital Territory Administration as contractors who supplied food items for palliative at the peak of the COVID-19 Pandemic have vowed to confront the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory for not being paid for months.
DAILY POST gathered that the contractors who supplied various food items to the FCTA have been promised severally by the administration.
Tension heightened few days to Sallah in anticipation that they would be paid. When it became realistic that officials who should attend to them were unavailable with some of them evasive on what to tell them, one of the contractors who pleaded anonymity drew the attention of journalists into the matter.
Friday’s scenario saw some of the contractors clash with security personnel at the Federal Capital Territory premises as they insisted to meet with the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Capital Territory, Christian Ohaa.
One of the contractors confided in DAILY POST on Friday that they made supplies to the tune of N3.8 billion under emergency procurement, a situation he lamented that himself and several others took credit from Banks to execute the contracts, having been told earlier that they would be paid three weeks after supplies have been effected.
He expressed disappointment that payment of supplies “under emergency”, has turned out to be a long story without an end.
“You see, this is four months now that the Mohammed Bello led Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has not met its obligation to us,” one of the contractors who sought anonymity said.
At a point the entire security architecture of the Federal capital territory began to see the contractors as constituting nuisance.
“It is our job to secure this premises and maintain law and order, we only arrested the disturbance they created around the offices with due respect to their persons. Did they tell you anyone was hurt?” A security man angrily told journalists monitoring the development.
When the Acting Secretary of the Social Development Secretariat (SDS) of the Federal Capital Territory, Mrs Dilichukwu Onyedima was contacted for her comment, she declined speaking with journalists on the issue.
“I have nothing to say on the grievances of contractors who supplied food items, I have nothing to say and I should not be quoted for anything on the matter,” she said.
Meanwhile, about 48 contractors supplied 600,000 (six hundred thousand) of 50kg bags of rice to the FCTA for her intervention to some 700,000 home-beneficiaries from the palliative pack. Some contractors supplied 10kg bags of rice too to meet specification.
Amid the tension on Friday, a source within the FCTA explained: “Yes, contracts have actually been awarded and payment yet made. However, I can assure you and by extension the contractors, that due diligence on their supplies have been done, covering, store verification to audit.”
He said processes leading to payment of COVID-19 contractors have been concluded, adding that they would be paid in a matter of days.
Asked about the deal and their role on the financing of the palliative, the office of the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Social and Disaster Management said it had no business with such transactions as it was entirely the responsibility of the FCTA.
In her words, the Special adviser on Media, to the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Madam Halima Odewale said: “We have no business with any supply of palliative with contractors at the FCT nor did we get any cash donation to make payment for palliative, there is no such thing.”