Staff of the Ministry of Works and Housing were shut out of the Ministry headquarters in Mabushi, Abuja, for three hours between 8 a.m. resuming time and 11 a.m. on Tuesday morning.
The Ministry’s main gate had been blocked with a patrol van of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), prohibiting vehicular and personnel admission to the Ministry’s headquarters and offices, when staff returned to work following the Easter holiday.
Africa Housing News had earlier reported that the offices were shut on orders from the Federal Capital Territory Administration due to non-payment of waste bills totaling over N9 million.
During the exercise, the board’s Director, Engr Osilama Briamah, told journalists that the board supplied trash management and other environmental services to their service providers, but they refused to pay.
He explained that the board had massive amount laying without answer from the defaulters.
“We tried to negotiate a better approach to achieve outcomes, but there was no good response; we offered them a payment plan, but many of them refused to take it seriously, so the board had to resort to legal means to recover the debts.”
“The board obtained court orders to have the premises sealed,” he explained.
According to him, the just launched exercise would cover all public and private offices owed to the board.
A senior magistrate court sitting in Wuse II, Abuja had served the defendants with summons to appear before the court on March 30th, 2022 but they failed to honour the court.
The breakdown of the debts showed that the Federal Ministry of Education owed 25,838,275, Federal Ministry of Defence – 17,220,775.00 and Federal character commission- 10,128,906.25.
Others include Civil service commission–2,451,649.50, Revenue mobilisation and fiscal commission—21,683,750.00
Federal ministry of Health 14,204,843.75, Fed ministry of Trade & Investment—-19,222,287.50, Federal ministry of Works — 9,998,625.00, Nigeria Security and civil Defence corps wuse–16,583,031.25.
The senior Special Assistant on Monitoring Inspection and Enforcement to the minister of FCT, Ikahro Attah who led the enforcement said the operation followed the initiative put together by the minister of FCT and the permanent secretary to recover the extreme debts owed the board.
Attah stated that the FCT Administration is worried about the high amount being owed FCTA.
“FCT Administration needs enough fund to build infrastructure and keep the city running. The administration has decided to go after the Ministries, parastatals, agencies and private individuals.
“We cannot wait to see government money tie-down, is wrong for people not to pay for services rendered,” he said.