Contractors under the aegis of the Association of Police Contractors have threatened to take to streets in protest against the N7.4bn allegedly owed them by the police since 2008/2009.
They also issued a seven-day ultimatum to both the Ministry of Police Affairs and the Nigerian Police Force to pay them.
The group, in a letter signed by its Chairman, Patrick Ojo, and Secretary, Aloysius Okonkwo, asked both the National Assembly and the MInistry of Finance to prevail on the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, and the Ministry of Police Affairs to use their quarterly allocations to offset the debt.
The letter was also copied to the Debt Management Office, the Bureau for Public Procurement and civil rights groups.
The letter dated August 28 stated that despite several appeals and meetings with the Minister of Police Affairs, Caleb Olubolade, and the IG, “no concrete effort has been made to correct the unwholesome system of fund and project management in both the police force and the ministry”.
The contractors said, “This action smacks of gross insensitivity, recklessness and an attempt to further impoverish and pauperise our members. The action of the Ministry of Police Affairs and the Nigerian Police in handling the problem is at variance with the Bureau of Public Procurement Act.”
The contractors also said two of their members died due to stress, high blood pressure and stroke arising from frustrations. However, the association commended the Minister of Police Affairs for keeping to his promise to re-organise the debt management system where sub-heads are now strictly adhered to.
The Deputy Force Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Frank Mba, promised the contractors that they would be paid.
Mba said, “The issue of police contractors is being handled at a very high level. But one thing I want Nigerians to know is the fact that the indebtedness of the force to the contractors did not arise from the activities of the current police management team.
“But the IG is working with the Ministry of Police Affairs in making sure that the debts are settled. I also want Nigerians to know that the force is not unconcerned about the plight of the contractors.
“The IG and the police management team understand that government is a continuous process and will therefore not shirk away from their responsibilities. As a result, they have held several meetings with the contractors and have been moving round the clock with the appropriate government functionaries to ensure that these debts are paid.”