The Nigerian Civil Servants Union at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has appealed to protesting contractors, who claim to have executed various projects nationwide for the ministry without being paid.
Nigerian Civil Service Union Joint Chairman, Leon Esebanme, during a press conference in Abuja, promised the contractors that they would continue to help management find a lasting solution to their problem.
While both the ministry and contractors have been previously enmeshed in corruption allegations, latter have protested the ministry’s indebtedness to them over the last two weeks at the entrance of its Abuja headquarters, demanding payment of the N17 billion debt owed them by the ministry.
The aggrieved contractors, who have been picketing amid the COVID-19 lockdown, are calling for the immediate removal of both the agric minister and permanent secretary, for refusing to pay them.
Addressing the press, Esebanme said, “They need to dialogue to create lasting peace.” He continued, “While we ask the management to expedite actions to get the contractors paid, we ask for the contractors to be more understanding during the process because coming to disrupt work activities cannot bring about the payment, but patience and dialogue.”.
Meanwhile, Chidi Kanu, coordinator of the ‘Concerned Unpaid 2018 Contractors’ ,stated that they were suspending their endless protests and picketing , following intervention from members of National Assembly Committees on Agriculture .
Kanu explained that legislators and ministry officials have given them assurances that the pending debt would be paid, as soon as the budget review was concluded, while still threatening that the frustrated contractors will not hesitate to resume their protest after two weeks if the debt is not paid.