Breaking: Works minister, dave Umahi apologizes to workers.
Written by AIGBOKHAEBHO OKHUELEIGBE on September 28, 2023
The stand off between workers at the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing and the Minister, David Umahi has been called off after 5-hours.
The minister who finally came out to address the workers said he did not deliberately lock the gate against them, but needed to take the action to arrest their attention.
According to Umahi, since assumption of duty, he had noticed a disturbing trend of tardiness with several workers coming to work very late.
The minister said he had engaged the Directors and Human Resources and had communicated that he needs the workers to resume work at 9am.
He noted that the directive was probably not communicated.
On occasions since he began preparing documents for the budget needs of the Ministry, Umahi said some files were not available because the responsible staff were not yet on their desks. On some other occasions, he was told that some staff had closed at 3pm, which were among the reason he communicated to the directors that there is need to instill discipline.
Umahi also explained some of the challenges he’s had on fixing the roads since he assumed duties. According to him, although several billions had been paid to contractors, Road maintenance, controllers and inspectors had failed to do their jobs by allowing contractors get away with failed projects due to lack of proper supervision, leading to the sorry-state of most federal roads.
He denied claims by the protesting workers that he has been bashing them in the media, explaining that the system he met on ground cannot guarantee that Nigerians can travel with ease to their various destinations if serious measures are not taken to ensure Nigerians enjoy the worth of what is sunk into the Ministry.
He wondered how a contract of N34 billion would be varied to the tune of N100 billion and yet there is nothing on ground to show for it.
Let us agree that it’s the future of children. The issue is that where we are going even in 20yrs no road project will be completed.
He noted that his desire to change things have led to resistance by some contractors who according to him have declared war against him by going through press to create a different impression.
Umahi insists, there will be no surrender on his part until the right thing is done.
He later apologized to the workers and appealed for their support and for them to also ensure contractors fix the roads using local content.