Suppliers of food items to public boarding schools in Kano State have appealed to the state government to urgently settle the over N1.3billion outstanding debt.
Worried by the burden of the debt, the food contractors lamented the economic hardship presently threatening the survival of their businesses.
The state government had postponed the second term school resumption by one week because of its inability to fund food supply to boarding schools, THISDAY learnt yesterday.
The registered food vendors, who are responsible for the supply of raw consumable to all the public boarding schools in the state, claimed that the state government refused to pay food bills for 21 weeks despite their consistency in supply.
One of the leaders of the contractors, who spoke with journalists on the condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation, regretted the alleged negligence of the state government to consider their plight.
The contractor, who spoke on behalf of others, expressed shock over the sudden termination of their contract and appointment of a private committee to take control of food supply without formal notice.
Although it was gathered that the state government resorted to alternative sources due to contractors' resistance, the representative of the vendors denied withdrawing their services because of the outstanding debt.
"For over 21 weeks, we never stopped the chain of food supply to boarding schools in the state despite the fact that the government owes us over N1.3billion. It is even worse that our contract is terminated just because we demanded our payment. This is shocking and disturbing.
"Our contract was terminated without prior knowledge, yet our outstanding debt was not settled. For almost seven occasions, the government pledged to pay but never fulfilled the promise.
"We were just informed unofficially that a state government committee was established to take full control of the food supply to schools. All we want to say is to appeal to the government to pay our outstanding money because the majority of our members are bankrupt already," he said.
Efforts to confirm the development and allegations against the state government did not yield any result, as the state Commissioner for Education, Mr. Muhammad Sanusi Kiru, failed to respond to inquiry by journalists.