The Contractor who built the COVID-19 Isolation centre in Cross River State has alleged that his life is under threat following Government’s refusal to pay the N6.4m Naira debt being owed him.

While calling the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, the Managing Director, Obi Achara Nigeria Limited, Mr James Obi, on Wednesday (April 8, 2020) said his life and that of his immediate family was now in danger due to threats from a supplier he got roofing materials used in the Isolation Center at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH). 

In his words, “I got a supply of roofing materials including ceiling, wood, and nails worth 7.4million naira from Mr. Okey Opara in September 2017 and I made an initial deposit of 1million naira leaving an outstanding balance of 6.4million. “But I have been unable to pay him the balance because I don’t have it yet as UCTH management is still owing me a huge sum of money over the job even though I have handed over the keys to them. “However many of the suppliers apart from the one threatening me believe I must have been paid before handing over the keys to UCTH, but it is not true.

“I am appealing to President Buhari, Minister of Health, Dr. E. Osagie Ehanire and other relevant authorities to come to my aid” he said.

It is well over three months since I handed over the keys under the circumstances I did, not because I do not know what to do, but for the interest of Nigerians I gave them the keys peacefully, but till date, I have not been approached officially by the management of UCTH,” he fumed. 

When contacted, Mba Ukweni, SAN counsel to Mr. James Obi, said they had written to the Commissioner of Police, Cross River state with the heading: “Report of incessant Threat to my Life and That of My Family by One Walter Okey Opara”. 

“The roofing material supplied by Mr. Walter Opara to our client was for the roofing of Calabar Isolation Centre at the UCTH.

The hospital is yet to make payment in respect of the said contract. “Our client has however gone out of his way to make the initial payment and is still making concerted efforts to pay up the total sum without necessarily waiting for UCTH. “Our client has however explained the situation to Mr. Walter Okey for patience, in spite of this, Mr. Walter Okey has been threatening his life. Our client is highly apprehensive and indeed highly threatened and afraid for his life and that of his immediate family”. It would be recalled that the Chief Medical Director, CMD, UCTH, Prof. Ikpeme Ikpeme had earlier reassured the contractor that the hospital has not reneged on its promise to offset the debt owed him.

In His words: “We are not denying that we are owing to him, but we pleaded with him to kindly hand over the place to us, which he did and we promised to pay him when funds were available. 

 “We have not reneged on our promise and we don’t have time lag as far as the payment is concerned but what we said in the agreement was that, once funds were available we will pay, and we have not deviated from that”, Ikpeme said. 

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