Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Yobe school feeding contractors threaten to discontinue services over N1.4bn debt

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By Umar Audu

Some contractors engaged by the Yobe State Government to feed secondary school students in the state have threatened to discontinue their services over the alleged 1.4billion debt.

DAILY NIGERIAN reports that the feeding program is for both boarding and day students of all state government-owned secondary schools in the state.

The program, which is a counterpart-funding scheme between the state and local government councils, feeds boarding students 3-square meals at the rate of N250 per meal, while the day students are given only lunch at a rate of N84 per meal.

Speaking with our correspondent on condition of anonymity, some of the contractors said they had not been paid since April 2021.

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The source lamented that the government’s action was taking a toll on their business and family needs.

He said: “We have fed these students, none of us had defaulted on the contract. We are about 140 entities engaged by the state government but unfortunately, most of us haven’t been paid since April last year. This is about N1.4 billion.

“Since the inception of this administration, the payment has been going on smoothly until April last year when they abruptly stopped paying us.

“This has affected our business and the relationship we have with some of the traders we buy food items from.

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“Most of the foodstuff we use is bought on credit and because we haven’t been paid by Yobe State Government, we are unable to redeem our promises to the traders.

“This has resulted in the arrest of some of our colleagues by the police and even court cases,” one of the vendors said.

While lamenting that several appeals made to the Secretary to the State Government and state Commissioners for Local Government and Education to get paid fell on deaf ears, the contractors urged the state government to do the needful.

When contacted, the state Commissioner for Education, Mohammed Sani-Idris, said the state government had commenced payment to all the contractors, stressing that efforts were on to offset all the backlogs of payments to the contractors.

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