A civil society group under the auspices of Abuja Grassroots Projects (AGP) has raised alarm over a massive debt of about N12bn owed by Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), under the leadership of Hon. Abdullahi Candido.
Comrade Yunusa Ahmadu Yusuf, Convener and Director General of the group, who made this known in a press conference yesterday, called on Candido to clear debt owed by the council to contractors before the end of his tenure, that if not cleared, it could cripple the council in future.
Yusuf further stressed that if the present administration does not clear the debt before the expiration of the tenure, it would affect effective development when the next administration takes effect from 2022.
“Our attention has been drawn to the fact that AMAC is presently owing about N12bn and 50 percent of the debt was accrued under the present administration led by Hon. Abdullahi Candido. That is very unfortunate, so we want to register our utmost dismay to this fact.
“This present administration has been owning many contractors and owing staff salaries, to the point that December salaries of staff were not paid and the fate of January salary for the staff is not guaranteed as we speak, while other chairmen in all other area councils are paying salaries.
“This is connected to the fact that the present chairman is determined to impose a candidate of his choice to AMAC, against the will of the people. I feel this is undemocratic and unacceptable. So, we cannot sit down and watch his administration ruin the area council.
“The massive debt that AMAC is owing is something that should be worrisome to everybody, because if he does not upset the debt before he leaves office, that means that the next chairman will have to pay, or the account of the council would be frozen and other negative things will happen.
“That is why we think we should call his attention and ask him what exactly he is doing for the people. We want to know the success of all the primary health centers, rural electrification and other things that this administration has done. Because we know that most of them are characterized by failure,” he said.
He further explained that as an elected council chairman, it is the responsibilities of the people to ask questions and checkmate his administration when things are going wrong, and ensure that things are corrected before they go out of hands.
“So many contractors no longer have confidence in AMAC as a local government again, because the leadership of the council cannot talk about how the contractors would be paid, and the council is collecting massive revenue from technical partners. The question is what is the chairman doing with the revenue he is collecting?
“In respect to DOAS, when Candido gave them the contract to collect all the revenues of the council, although, I may not have the fact, but it seems it was done at gunpoint. He has sold the soul of AMAC to DOAS, because as I talk to you, two days ago he has given DOAS all the right to collect revenues in the council.
“So, I am calling on all stakeholders of AMAC, including the journalists, to ask Candido why he decided to take that action. Because, if he does not trust other technical partners, it all bores down to corny activities and the people he engaged. That is what has brought the council to the present state we find ourselves,” he said.