- They were not given any job, we know their sponsors -Emelumba
By AFAM Echi
Contractors working for the Imo State Universal Basic Education (IMSUBEB) have cried out to the public alleging that the Imo State government is killing them gradually.
They made the charge Tuesday through their spokesman and Chairman, Hon Williams Ejiakor who spoke to Edge Express during a protest march on the streets of Owerri asking the government to pay their members for the jobs done.
Ejiakor narrated how they were ordered back to the job within 24 hours by Governor Hope Uzodinma following the sack of Emeka Ihedioha who awarded them the job in December 2019. He regretted that after reaching a reasonable milestone, up to 60% and some completing the jobs, they were yet to be paid.
In his words, “we have not been paid one naira, some have finished their jobs, some have done up to 60%, some nearing completion. The money is already down. Universal Basic Education (UBEC) Abuja, have sent the money through Zenith Bank where it is lodged.
“Instead of paying us our money they are using it to award new jobs. We have written all manners of letters, open, private letters to be paid but to no avail. Most of our members cannot feed nor do anything because of their money. The properties they used to secure the loans are about to be auctioned.
“We are not miscreants; we are only marching in the streets to let the world know that we are dying gradually. We are pleading with the public to help beg the government to pay us our money.”
On the response of the government after hitting the government house, he stated that, ”we got to the government house and waited for hours but no one came to address us. When the rain came we had to disperse.”
The Chairman expressed shock and disappointment that even after UBEC has written the government and issued 14 days ultimatum to pay the contractors and which has since expired, nothing positive came from the government.
On their next line of action he maintained that they are insisting on meeting with the government after the protest. The group commenced their protest from the premises of IMSUBEB Port Harcourt road marching down to the government house gate.
When the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Declan Emelumba, was contacted he reacted as follows, “when did contractors start protesting in block. I know of contractors who have been owed for years. All these protests are orchestrated. We know those who are sponsoring them.”
Continuing, he said that, “Emeka Ihedioha that gave them contract never mobilized them and if they used their money to work they ought to have agreed with the government on payment terms. These people were never mobilized and so were not given any job. If I were them they should talk of how to negotiate with government and not threaten it. It is not to say that government is dismissing them but they should stop the blackmail.”
For Imolites it is like a tale of one day one trouble as more agitators take turn to march to the streets of Owerri in protest of their payments owed by the state government. In the month of June pensioners twice protested their non-payment of 4 month’s salary arrears.
This was followed by ISOPADEC staff and now the IMSUBEB people.