N7.4 billion Debt: Police Contractors Spoil For War



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By Chuks Ehirim

Contractors registered under the aegis of Association of Police Contractors have threatened that they  would go to the streets in protest if the Nigerian Police Force fails to pay them the sum of N7.4 billion being the total amount owed them since 2008/2009 till date for various degrees contracts executed.To this end, it has given both the Ministry of Police Affairs and the Nigerian Police Force a one-week ultimatum to act or face the wrath of its members.

As a way of further exploring channels for last minute peace, the association has appealed to the National Assembly, the Ministry of Finance, the Debt Management Office, the Bureau for Public Procurement and other civil rights groups to prevail on the Inspector General of Police and the Ministry of Police Affairs to use their 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarter allocations to offset the debt in order to alleviate the suffering of their members.

In a letter signed by the association’s Chairman and Secretary, Chief Patrick Ojo and Chief Aloysius Okonkwo, respectively, the association noted that some of the contracts are ongoing projects under the five-year rolling plan while some have been completed.

The letter noted that in spite of several appeals and meetings with the Minister of Police Affairs, Captain Caleb Olubolade as well as the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed  Abubarkar,  no concrete effort has been made to correct the unwholesome system of fund and project management in both the police force and the ministry.

According the letter dated August 28, 2012, the contractors had earlier submitted another letter dated May 17, 2012 to the Minister of Police Affairs detailing the alleged unwholesome happenings and irrespective of the minister’s order to stop award of new contracts until outstanding liabilities resulting from past contracts are settled, the IGP is still awarding new contracts, processing and collecting tender fees.

“This action smacks of gross insensitivity, recklessness and an attempt to further impoverish and pauperise our members. The action of the Ministry of Police Affairs and the Nigerian Police in handling the problem is at variance with the Bureau of Public Procurement act”, the letter noted.

It lamented that the non payment is causing its members so much trauma as most of them took loans to execute the contracts, adding that their collaterals were being called in by various banks and while their accounts attract debt interests.  The letter further stated that two of their members have lost their lives due to stress, high blood pressure and stroke arising from frustrations, impoverishment and inability to meet primary responsibility to their families.

Meanwhile the association commended the Minister of Police Affairs, Captain Olubolade for keeping to his promise to re-organise the debt management system where subheads are now strictly adhered to.   It could be recalled that early this month the minister of Police Affairs, Olubolade  in a meeting with the contractors directed the Permanent Secretary and the Director, Finance and Accounts to deep into the Police funds and ensure that the contractors were paid.

 


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