- Ministry Workers, Properties Thrown Out Over N7m Debt
Properties worth millions of naira were on Friday thrown out of offices in Calabar as a court bailiff carried out an eviction order in the Cross River State Office of the Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
Apart from properties, at least 40 workers were also ejected from their offices in the complex while it was raining, following N7m rent that the owner of the building was allegedly being owed.
The building is along Parliamentary Road in the state capital.
Some confused workers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, described the situation as a disgrace to the ministry.
Items such as office furniture, television sets, printers, computers, air conditioners, documents and other vital office equipment were left unprotected in the rain.
An unidentified bailiff from a magistrate’s court in Calabar, who carried out the exercise as early as 8am, said the court order was carried out because of the failure of the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja to pay rents over the years.
The bailiff carried out the eviction order in the presence of security agents despite the downpour.
He said, “We never anticipated that there would be rainfall. We had no option but to carry out the court order because the tenants defaulted. They could not dispute the fact that they owed over N7m rent for some years now and they have not shown any seriousness in offsetting the bill; that was why this order was sought.”
Efforts to speak with the coordinator in charge of the state office of the ministry, Mr. Francis Ukpo, were unsuccessful as he was said to have gone to the federal secretariat along the Murtala Mohammed Highway to secure another office accommodation.
But an aggrieved member of staff, who was drenched, lamented that running costs for state offices were being paid into private accounts instead of the office account.
“There are a lot of sharp practices taking place in the ministry. We have been having issues in the running of state offices lately. You cannot imagine that running costs for state offices are being paid into private accounts. Who knows if such frauds led to the ministry’s inability to pay rents? This is a disgrace and some properties will surely get damaged in this rain,” he said.