CONTRACTORS numbering about fifty, yesterday, in Abuja protested the refusal of the Ministry of Police Affairs to settle N7.2 billion owed them by the Nigeria Police Force for projects executed since 2008. The placard-wielding protesters embarrassed members of the Senate Committee on Police Affairs who were at the ministry to carry out their oversight functions.
The senators later held a meeting with the Police Affairs Minister, Navy Capt. Caleb Olubolade (rtd.), and a representative of the contractors where it was agreed that N2.1 billion would be paid to the contractors in the first installment. During an interactive session, the minister briefed the committee on the level of budget implementation by the ministry and blamed the low implementation on non-release of funds by the ministry of finance.
Olubolade attributed the zero percent budget utilization by the police pension office to the ongoing audit of the department.Senate committee chairman, Senator Paulinus Nwaogu, directed the permanent secretary of the ministry to meet with the committee clerk to compare notes on the funds released and how they were utilized.
He tasked the ministry to resolve the issues around the pension office and to ensure that the funds released to it were utilized. Nwaogu said that his committee would visit the various project sites to verify the quality of work done and the amount expended on them, adding: “The finance ministry should release funds to police affairs to enable them implement their projects.”