By Jimitota Onoyume
PORT HARCOURT— Contractors handling projects for the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, in the region, yesterday, staged a peaceful protest at the commission’s head office on Aba Road, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, over alleged non-payment for contracts executed.
Speaking under the aegis of Contractors Association of NDDC, President of the body, Mr Joe Adia, said 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.
He said the protest was to acquaint the new acting Managing Director of the commission, Mrs Ibim Semenitari, of their plight.
He said: “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.”
He appealed to the Federal Government to cancel all fresh jobs awarded by the previous board, saying that it was no use awarding new jobs when jobs awarded several years ago had not been paid for.
Appealing to the Federal Government to effectively fund the commission, the contractors said government should also endeavour to release accurate amounts budgeted for the commission annually.
“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,” he pleaded.