National Assembly

We are creditors to the Nigeria Mobile Telecommunication, being owed since 2005 and 2006, having done various jobs for Mtel, in many cases with bank loans and entire personal savings. We are no wealthy contractors, but ordinary Nigerians who, because of unemployment took the risk to become small and medium scale entrepreneurs.

Twice in 2009, the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) – the government agency responsible for privatization – called us to verify our debt claims for payment. This we did, many of us travelling to Abuja from different parts of the country.

With businesses crippled by Mtel indebtedness, many of us had to borrow money for the journey, believing that the government was serious with its calls. But lo and behold! the journey was a waste, we were not paid on the two occasions in 2009.

Early this year, the BPE called us again to negotiate our payments. This time they forced many of us to reduce our debt claims significantly, claiming that the government cannot pay the whole debts, and assuring us that they are ready to pay this time.

We accepted because even though it is clearly unjust we could not see another option. We were assured that we would be paid after Mtel staff has been paid, while the other creditors – most of them big multinationals and banks – would be paid after the sale of NITEL/Mtel.

It is needless to say that some of us have suffered permanent incapacitation as a result of auto accidents in the course of shuttling between Abuja and our various locations in pursuit of payment.

Many others have also been hospitalised as a result of illnesses induced by anxiety and frustration arising from the non-payment for contracts they had long executed, while others have been led to an untimely grave.

A good number of us that obtained loan facilities to execute contracts have lost our valuable assets to the various banks, while a sizeable number of us have had our children thrown out of school. Not a few have even lost the illness, after an unsuccessful battle with deseases, because they could not afford elementary medical care.

We, the undersigned, call on our Distinguished Senators to urge President Goodluck Jonathan to intervene in the matter the same way he intervened on behalf of the disengaged staff of NITEL/M-TEL in March 2011, consequent upon which their cheques were released to them.

It is incumbent upon government to strive to preserve the integrity of the system and to ensure that individuals or groups who find themselves in position of power do not conduct themselves in ways and manners capable of violating the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy, as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution.

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The Pay Mtel Creditors Now petition to National Assembly was written by Sebagen Henry Noboh and is in the category Business at GoPetition.