A group of local contractors have petitioned Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State over the refusal of the State Government to pay N869 million owed them for the execution of school furniture contract.
The aggrieved 220 contractors, including local artisans, were awarded the contracts two years ago by the State Government to supply 55,000 pairs of School Furniture at the rate of N15, 800 per pair.
A breakdown of the contract indicates that each of the 220 contractors were to supply 250 pairs at the sum of N3, 950,000. According to the letter of award, each contractor would be paid 60 per cent of the contract sum as an advance payment. However 21 months after the contracts were awarded, the government has not released any money to the contractors.
The letter of award titled, “Award of Contract for the Procurement of School Furniture” dated 28th March 2013 and signed by the Director (Cabinet), F.O Omokemi, for the Secretary to the State Government, stated “I am pleased to inform you that Government has approved the Contract for the Procurement of (250 pairs) of School Furniture to your Company at a total cost of N3, 950,000 (VAT and Tax inclusive).
“Government has also approved that 60% of the contract sum be granted to your company as an advance payment on the submission of a performance bond issued by a reputable Insurance Company to facilitate speedy execution of the project”
However, the contractors in the petition sent to the governor, a copy of which was made available to our reporter, alleged that after spending their money to execute the contract, government had not taken delivery of the furniture or paid the 60 per cent of the contract sum even after the submission of performance bond as demanded by the government.
In the petition signed by their spokesman, Chief Adeola Adenrele, the contractors lamented that they were suffering financial hardship having committed their money which was obtained from banks as loans to execute the contract.
“Some of us are on the verge of dying because of the sufferings and pressure from the Commercial Banks. Many of us are on the sick beds in various hospitals. We making a personal appeal to our progressive Governor to lease come to our aids”, they lamented.
“ We are even finding it difficult to feed our families or pay our children’s school fees, we have become objects of ridicule and jest among the people. All of us are in support of the free and qualitative education which is the one of the priority programme of your government. The provisions of furniture and other facilities are necessary for the success of your education programme. We pledge our continuous and unalloyed support to your government as you save us from undeserved debt and untimely death”, they pleaded.