Indigenous contractors, yesterday, paralysed business activities at the headquarters of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, over the failure of the commission to pay their debts.
The protesters, under the umbrella of NDDC Indigenous Contractors Association, had in the past six days taken over the premises of the commission in protest, grounding business activities of the office.
The contractors, who are of Niger Delta origin with placard bearing different inscriptions like, “NDDC pay us our money,”; “NDDC, Akwa pay contractors please,” and “NDDC contractors are dying,” among others, noted that attempts to get their pay had proven abortive.
President of the association, Andrew Ijegbai, regretted that the contractors, for over five years, have not been paid for the services they rendered to the Commission, and described the action as wickedness.
Ijegbai said it was painful that the contractors used their money to execute the projects, regretting that such projects have been commissioned and put to use, whereas the money invested by the contractors have not been paid back.
He said: “We are here because we have done jobs for NDDC for the past four years. We have been waiting for our payment, but they are giving us all kinds of excuses.
“As it stands now, we can no longer afford our children’s school fees. We collected most of those money from financial institutions and we used our houses as collaterals. Now, the banks are collecting our houses.
“We have pleaded, we have gone to Abuja, but to no avail. If you look at the situation, you will know that we are not working. NDDC has not been like this. Before, once you earn your IPC, you will be paid. But, we don’t know what is happening since the inception of this present board.
“They have seized everything. We don’t even know where we are going to and they are not talking to us.