By Emmanuel Nduka
A coalition of Niger Delta contractors have beckoned on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Ministry of Finance to release monies to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to fast-track their outstanding payments for projects executed in the oil-rich region.
According to sources, the contractors who had recently pleaded with the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio and the Interim Administrator of the NDDC, Effiong Akwa, to complete the payment of contractors, have now discovered that their monies are tied up in the CBN.
Responding to the plight of the contractors, Akpabio had pushed the blame to International Oil Companies, IOCs, positing that the entities owe the NDDC over $4bn.
The contractors also pleaded with the Muhammadu Buhari-led Presidency to inaugurate a permanent board for the NDDC in place of Interim Management Committee headed by Mr. Akwa.
This, according to the contractors, would pave way for a seamless transmission of policies that would in turn fast-track the disbursement of their monies.
Recall, in a statement issued recently by its Chairman and Secretary, Engr Kelvin Douglas and Preye Briggs, the coalition said their members “are dying on a daily basis as result of pressure from banks loans, harassment and intimidation”.
They added that some other contractors have developed High Blood Pressure already.
To this end, they also begged the Presidency to intervene in the matter, stressing that some contractors completed their jobs two years ago or more and are yet to access payment from the commission.
The contractors recalled that weeks ago, Akwa assembled some contractors with payments below N100million, “assuring them of payment but until now nothing has been paid”.
While making a passionate plea for the payments to be fast-tracked, they noted that billions are still being owed contractors.