…Says, 46 member contractors are in jail for default.
By Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
Protesting the nonpayment of outstanding debts, contractors under the auspices of “Group of Kaduna Drainage Contractors,” have decried the refusal of Kaduna state government to settle their contracts fees amounting to 1.2 billion naira.
The contractors, who gave a five-day ultimatum to the government to invite them for a roundtable meeting, vowed to embark on a sit-down protest at the entrance to the Government House, should it fail to pay them at the expiration of the ultimatum.
According to them, 46 of their colleague contractors are currently in jail for inability to pay for the materials collected on credit.
Addressing journalists shortly after an emergency meeting of the group at Hamdala Hotel Garden in Kaduna, the Public Relations Officer of Kaduna Road Agency (KADRA) contractors, Nasir Abubakar, said that the contractors would not only occupy the gate leading to the Government House, but would also mobilise their children, wives and family members to join the sit-down protest.
According to him, the contract work were scattered across seven local government areas of the state, namely, Kaduna North, Kaduna South, Igabi, Chikun, Zaria, Sabon-Gari, and Jama’a LGCs.
The 489 contractors, who were part of the contract work, alleged that some selected close allies of the governor were paid the sum of Six Hundred Million Naira (N600,000,000) in December, 2017.
Said Abubaker, “At the initial, the allocated amount for the said contracts was 3.5 billion naira and, thereafter, it was screened to 1.8 billion naira with the inauguration of a committee headed by the Secretary to Kaduna State Government, SSG, Abass Balarebe.
“As I speak to you, now, 46 contractors are currently in jail because they couldn’t pay for the materials collected, ranging from blocks, planks, sand, granite, among other materials,” Abubakar added.
Although, the contractors alleged that information available to them revealed that there was an order for the approval of Six Hundred Million Naira to be paid to the drainage contractors, but as at the time of meeting, no one among the contractors has received any payment alert from the bank.
The group, however, called on the Kaduna state government to ensure the payment of the money owed, and treat it as matter of urgency.
Meanwhile, when contacted on phone by journalists, commissioner of finance, Abdul Kwari, distanced his office from the allegations, saying that Kaduna Road Agency, KADRA, is in a better position to talk on the issue.
As at the time of filing this report, all efforts to get across to the Managing Director of KADRA proved abortive.