Some contractors of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on Wednesday stormed the Abuja head office of the ministry to demand the payment of their money.
Aggrieved by the negligence of the ministry in settling the debt, the contractors blocked the major entrance to the minister’s office.
Efforts by security officers and other personnel at the FMARD to pacify the angry protesters were futile, as the contractors insisted that they must get the payments for contracts they executed for the ministry.
They chanted songs such as “Nanono must go; the permanent secretary must go; pay us our money,” as they refused to vacate the major entrance to the minister’s office.
They insisted that the minister, Mr Sabo Nanono, or his permanent secretary must come out to address them, stressing that some of their colleagues had died due to the heartache resulting from the non-payment of the debts owed them by the FMARD.
One of the protesters, who simply identified himself as Comrade Lucky, said the contractors were awarded various agric contracts since 2018 and had completed the projects but the ministry refused to pay.
He said, “Since 2018 we were given the contracts we bid for, which we also executed. We have been coming here for payment with the certificate of completion issued to us by the same ministry.
“The ministry based on whatever consideration has done selective payments leaving some of us out. We have met with both the minister and the permanent secretary and nothing has been done. At a point, the permanent secretary promised to pay us, but later refused to pay.”
Ada Nwahiri, another unpaid contractor of the ministry, said she executed two borehole projects in Akwa Ibom State for the FMARD and had been certified by relevant engineers of the ministry.
Nwahiri said the bank where she obtained loan to execute the contract had been on her neck for repayment, adding she had no place to resort to.
Efforts to get the ministry’s response to the issues were unsuccessful, as calls to its spokesperson, Theodore Ogaziechi, rang out. Text message sent to him on the matter had not been replied as of the time of filing the story.