By Francis Okoye Maiduguri –
Suppliers of firewoods to the internally Displaced persons (IDPs) camps contracted by Borno State government through the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), have appealed to the state government and SEMA chairman, Ahmed Satomi, to pay them their outstanding balance of N24.5 million for firewoods supplied to the camps.
According to the suppliers, the money amounted up to N40 million before it was reduced to the present amount, adding that government stopped paying them since over 18 months ago, when SEMA adopted the household cooking pattern and stopped cooking for the IDPs.
Speaking to newsmen in Maiduguri Yesterday, a member of the firewood suppliers, Yusuf Datti said all efforts by their members to get this money since last year has been futile as the SEMA Charman kept dribbling them over and over .
“Our problem is payment of the money of firewoods worth N24.5 million naira our members supplied to the IDPs camps for cooking of food before government stopped cooking for the IDPs since last year.
“Our customers whom we collected the firewoods in their hands from various Villages are on our necks .We collected these firewoods from different dealers and as I am talking to you, there have been pressures on my members from our customers to pay them their monies.
“Before now , the money gulped up to N40 million before it was reduced to the present amount. SEMA has kept promising us and yet , no money has been paid to us since they stopped cooking for the IDPs.
We are appealing to the SEMA Chairman, Ahmed Satomi , to clear this debt to ease pressures from our local suppliers who defy all odds against Boko Haram terrorists in the bush to get the firewoods,” Datti told LEADERSHIP.
Reacting to the development, the executive chairman, Borno State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Engr Ahmed Satomi , said even though the firewoods suppliers are being owed some outstanding, they have to follow appropriate channel to recover their money.
He said SEMA did not at any time ask them to supply firewoods, but rather with a third party from which.
“Did they have any paper to prove that SEMA asked them to supply firewoods or dealt with them directing? I don’t know any of the firewood suppliers.When they talked to me , yes I agreed to take up their case.”
They didn’t tell you the truth . The actual money was N74 million and we have continued paying until it was reduced to the present amount.
“ If they have any issue , they should foward it to the appropriate channel. They should exercise patience , even though they have been patient enough. For me , I have forwarded their written complaints to the Borno state Ministry of Local governments . It is the Ministry that will follow it up .
“ If they can come , we will meet the Commissioner for Local governments again. I have submitted the complaints and the approval is with him,” Satomi responded.
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