By Johnbosco Agbakwuru

Some local contractors in the country have lost their homes to commercial banks that guaranteed their loans for the execution of the contracts following the failure by the Federal Government to pay for the executed contracts.

A local contractor from Benue State has reportedly died at the National Hospital, Abuja, for his inability to deposit N1million needed for his medical treatment while the Federal Government is allegedly owing him N5 million for project executed.

Consequently, an international human rights organisation has protested to the Federal Government to clear its indebtedness to local contractors, totalling about N20 billion, to enable them settle loans from  banks.

The letter to government through the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi    Adeosun, lamented that some of the projects had since been completed and commissioned while they were yet to be paid by government.

The notice entitled: “Urgent demand for payment of over 20 billion Naira being monies/debt owed to local contractors for various contracts executed with the Federal Government” was signed by the National Coordinator of the group, Mr Victor Giwa.

While appreciating the Federal Government through the minister for the  efforts in addressing the harsh economic challenges facing citizens in the wake of the economic recession, the group noted that some of the contractors have developed different forms of ailments including hypertension as a result of the non payment of the contract sum by government. The protest letter stated: “We are an international Human Rights Organization saddled with the objectives of protection and defense of the human, social and economic rights of Nigerians against any form of extortion and abuse by any individuals, institutions and agencies of government.

“We pursue our objectives through protest and demonstration, media campaign, court actions among others.

“Our attention has been drawn to the worrisome and pathetic conditions of  Nigerians who executed contracts with the Federal Government through various ministries, departments and agencies.

“Sir, these patriotic Nigerians honestly executed viable contracts, like construction of roads, schools, building and equipping hospitals, health centres, clinics, street lights, and construction of bore holes among many others.

“The contracts were aimed at improving the lives of people and communities in various state by the Federal Government through various ministries and parastatals in line with government agenda of improving infrastructure for social development.

“These contractors in keeping with the mandate to timely execution and completion of their projects, took loans from financial institutions and other sources to fund and complete these projects.

“Interestingly, the contracts – projects have long be completed and commissioned for use in some cases by government. “But sadly, these contractors who have expended their resources and materials in execution of these contract- projects have not been paid their monies long after the completion of the projects.”

Continuing, the group claimed that, “the contractors have through various medium demanded and requested for their payment to the ministries and agencies, but their demands were met with false promises, delays, subterfuge and chicanery.

“The contractors, who are largely ordinary Nigerians with high hope from this Government of Change, are now highly indebted to their banks, families and friends, while others have lost their homes as a result of their inability to service their loans to pay off the capital sum. “Others are sick with recorded cases of hypertension and high blood pressure. Some have even lost their lives as a result of financial pressure, while some have their children and wards sent out of schools for inability to pay school fees. Others who are small business owners have laid off their staff.

 

 

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