A contractor working with QUMECS Nigeria Limited has reportedly killed himself.
The deceased, Idorenyin Atang, reportedly head the construction of the Ring road 2 projects, in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
Some workers who took part in the project are said to have developed health issues, including high blood pressure after they could not get paid for their jobs.
The alleged inability of the State government to remit the balance has caused untold hardship among the workers.
Atang became frustrated over the issue and resolved to suicide over the State Government’s indebtedness to the company.
Bibian Anekwe News learnt that the deceased was a native of the Eket Local Government Area of the State.
He was said to have been overwhelmed with pressure from his creditors whom he collected loans from, to execute part of his job with the company.
Bibian Anekwe News understands that the State government had last year revoked the contract with Qumecs and awarded the same to an indigenous construction firm, Hensek Integrated company limited, leaving an outstanding balance of about N572m due to be paid to the first construction firm (QUMECS).
The nonpayment of the balance, however, resulted in untold agony as some of the workers had reportedly died of HBP.
Some of the aggrieved construction workers had in the last weekend, taken to the streets to lament that before the contract was revoked, some of them had collected loan facilities, sold cars and other personal belongings to execute the various jobs with the company.
They displayed placards with various inscriptions such as, “Mr Governor, we are dying because QUMECS is owing to us’, ‘Governor Emmanuel please pay us to ring road 11’, ‘Mr Emmanuel no respect for due process ring road 11’.
The sub-contractors noted that their monies ranging from N18 Million, N34 Million, N130 Million etc. were mostly loans collected with high interest from banks, pleading that the debts should be offset to enable them to live their normal lives.
One of the sub-contractors who spoke with Daily Post, Isaac Ibanga representing Sikak firm Nigeria Ltd, said the company owes him a sum of N18million, which according to him, was a loan from the bank to execute the project.
He said, “we did the drainage placement to quite a far distance, to my surprise, payment ceased since 2019. Later, we heard that the mother company’s contract was revoked and we expected that the severance packages should be paid, we are not interested in who carries on the project.
“We have toed the path of peace since the time, we have appealed and wrote various letters to QUMECS, but we got to understand that the State government has not paid them. We wrote to the State government, copied the Governor and other relevant parastatals but they will tell you that they don’t have any business with subcontractors, they gave the job to QUMECS.
”Under due process, when a job is revoked, necessary checks are made to know if there are any outstanding and such should be defrayed to the contractor, but such was not done in this case.”
On his part, one Samuel Peter, who was a supplier of stone-base, said the company owes him N18 million, lamenting that he sold land to execute the supply contract but has been unable to recover his money since then.
When contacted, the project manager, OUMECS Nigeria Limited, Engr Stephen Oluyemi insisted that the State government has not paid the company the outstanding balance of N572 million, which will enable them to pay the suppliers and sub-contractors.
He admitted that the company owed the indigenes, sub-contractors and suppliers huge amounts of money.
He said: “They have been writing to us but the issue is that we have not been paid the money.
“The work since three years ago was about 70% completion until COVID-19 came and the government did not pay and since then we’ve been expecting payment. In February 2021, what rather came as a letter of termination and they awarded the contract to another company, since then we’ve not received our outstanding.
“We have pleaded with them to exercise patience, our equipment is still on-site and as soon as government pays us, we will clear the debt we owe these indigenes.”
However, efforts to get a reaction from the Commissioner for Works and fire service, Prof Eno Ibanga was unsuccessful as he neither picked up his calls nor responded to messages sent to him as at press time, Bibian Anekwe News understands.