Scores of contractors who undertook the construction of city gates in Owerri, the Imo State capital and businessmen who supplied materials and beverages during the 2012 birthday anniversary celebration of Governor Rochas Okorocha have beckoned on the state government to pay them for their services
Speaking to newsmen on Friday in Owerri on the platform of Concorde Hotel Suppliers and City Gate Contractors, the group said that banks had clamped down on them because of their inability to repay the loans they took to carry out the jobs and supply five years ago.
The spokespersons for the group, Declan Chukwu, and Pastor David Chukwukere, said that all entreaties they had made to make the government pay them, including having audience with the governor and Chief of Staff, Uche Nwosu, had yielded no fruitful result.
Chukwu, who said that the suppliers were being owed over N27 million for supplying drugs, diesel, foodstuff and beverages to Concorde Hotel owned by the state government, lamented that many of them had closed shops because of the way the government treated them.
Chukwu said, “We are appealing to the state government to consider our plight. These are the supplies we made to Concorde Hotel, which is owned by the state government during the birthday celebration of the governor in 2012.
No dime has been paid to us. Many of us are out of business. Some have gone to the villages. The banks are clamping down on us. We can’t even service the loan we took to make the Supplies. It is five years now and we have not got the money.”
For Chukwukere, the conditions of the contractors, who undertook the building of the city gates, were appalling, even as he urged the governor to urgently come to their rescue.
“We are talking about over N100m and for five years, we are yet to get it. We were not paid a dime for the contract, not even mobilization fee. We were asked to work to a certain level before payment could be made, but no money was given to us till now.
“We have had an audience with the governor and the governor instructed the Head of Works, Government House, to check our documents and make appropriate recommendations to him. All that have been done, but we are yet to get any money.
“We took loans from banks for the contract and it is unfortunate that we can’t payback. Some of us are being harassed by their landlords while others can’t even afford to pay their children school fees.” Chukwukere lamented.
Reacting, the Special Assistant to the Governor on ICT and Social Media, Abasiodu Idiong, urged the contractors to sustain their communication with the Head of Works, Government House, whom the governor had instructed to look into their matter.
Idiong said, “Since there is a communication, I want to urge the contractors to sustain it with the HOD in charge of Works, Government House. Sustaining it also entails being patient. It won’t be nice if they start protesting.” (Punch)