Despite its moves to pacify the people of Ugborodo Community in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State by paying N368million out of the about N2billion it owed the community, JAD Catering Services has been told by the Ugborodo Community Trust(UCT) to quit the locality.
Laying emphasis on the order was the former secretary of the UCT, Pastor Benson Babine. He said the action will not stop the resolve by concerned stakeholders to throw out the company.
Speaking on the protest against the company in Lagos instead of Escravos, he said: “This protest has nothing to do with leadership dispute in Ugborodo right now; there is no tangible leadership dispute in Ugborodo now. What led to this protest is the default of JAD Catering Services on the contractual agreement we had in 2009, which came in place when the community recommended JAD for the award of that catering service.
“After JAD got the job in 2009, we entered into an MoU. As secretary, I was part of the meeting and in the MoU in which basic things were agreed upon, which was that they were to employ three categories of people, namely skilled, unskilled, semiskilled and a definite amount be paid to the community based on the service of food per person per day as well as supply of some materials. This was signed and JAD took over the job.
“JAD actually started paying in January 2009 up to July 2011, though there was still some hanky-panky they were doing during this period because we told them that we want to know how many people they were feeding per day precisely so that as they are bringing the community’s returns, we could verify that no party was being shortchanged.
“But they were not giving us what we called payment advice or payment notice. No accountability. They could just bring N5million for a month without anything to show on how they came about that amount and I, as Community Trust Secretary, asked why, and they refused,” he said.
The ex-scribe explained: “In 2013 when the Trust I was serving as secretary was ending in 2014, I told the then chairman that it would not be good that we leave office without knowing how much JAD owes us. Based on this, I wrote a letter to JAD in July 2013 to give us an update but the chairman advised that we wait till October 2013 after which we wrote the letter to the company.”
Fresh bid, antics
“A week after, I called JAD’s Managing Director, Jaffal Sadiq, that we were yet to get a reply from them as regards the letter. Till date, we (the community) have not got any response from them on that. So with the expiration of the contract last year, 2017, we got wind of it and JAD’s ploy to embark on a fresh tender bidding.
ESS and about seven other companies came for the bidding, including JAD, apparently assuming that it still has the backing of the community and bid very high.
‘We told them no. Personally, even though I do not hold an executive position anymore, I am a principal member of the Trust, who is abreast with the situation and that the company has not paid anything to the community since August 2011, till date, yet they want to mobilise the community again to embark on a protest for them despite their high bidding, so we told them no, that the community will not embark on such and if we must do, the intended protest would be such that must be against them,” he disclosed.
Babine added: “When JAD heard that, they quickly ran and paid N368 million March ending, but based on my calculation, the money owed the community is close to N2 billion, yet they expected the community to protest in their favour. And some folks in the community upon hearing the amount felt it was big money and that we should on that notion back JAD for the contract, but we told them that the company has not even paid half of the money. So this is the point some of us vowed that we would take JAD up for it.”
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