The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) says it is happy with the pace of work on its N6 billion naira 132/33KV sub-station for over 2,000 riverside communities in Ondo State.
The Interim Administrator of the commission, Mr Effiong Akwa, said this on Friday during an inspection of the project.
Akwa said he was excited that the project would soon be inaugurated to end the many years of darkness suffered by the affected communities.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the five local government areas (LGAs) of Ilaje, Ese-Odo, Okitipupa, Odigbo and Irele in Ondo South Senatorial District, had been cut off from the national grid for the past 12 years.
Akwa was accompanied on the inspection by Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, Sen. Omotayo Alasoadura, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on NDDC.
He said that President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, were interested in the timely completion of the project.
According to the NDDC chief executive, the project remains about 15 per cent to be completed.
He thanked Akeredolu for being part of the inspection, saying, “this shows your interest in seeing to the completion of the project”.
“What I have seen here is massive. Thank God I did not stay in the office and send directors to inspect the project.
“When the contractor presented an update on the project to us, I insisted on coming to see things for myself.
“From what is on ground here, this is a massive electricity project and a lot of money has been sunk in here.
“We have got to a point of no return. For this project, I can tell you that there is no retreat, no surrender.
“We have to complete it and put it to use as soon as possible. As it is now, we have done about 85 per cent of the job,” Akwa said.
He gave assurance that the commission would assist the contractor to tackle the challenges of sourcing foreign exchange to import some of the equipment needed.
“We will authorise the Central Bank of Nigeria to debit our dollar account,” he said.
In a remark, Akeredolu commended NDDC for making efforts to release the necessary funds to facilitate the completion of the project.
“I appreciate the NDDC under the watch of Akwa.
“This is a new era in the commission and our people in the five LGAs in the southern part of the state will forever be grateful to Akwa for making efforts to give us light.
“He has even gone the extra mile of assuring us that money will also be released from the commission’s foreign account to take care of importation of some equipment.
“I will not forget this visit and I am sure that the people of this area will be very happy with what the NDDC has done for them,” the governor said.
He also said that the project was very dear to the people and urged NDDC not to relent in its efforts until its completion.
According to him, the southern senatorial district of the state represents the core economic base of the state because it is the oil-producing area.
He said the absence of public power supply in the area had therefore affected the economy of the state adversely.
The contractor handling the project, Mr Benson Obayolu, said the scope of the contract included the evacuation of light from Omotosho with a step-down at Erinje through a 132KV double circuit line with two 30/40MVA transformers at Okitipupa.
Obayolu said the transmission lines run through Erinje with 145 electricity towers that are standing on concrete foundations.
He further said that almost all materials needed for the project were already on-site at Okitipupa.
“The project is almost completed. We need to add only two components to sign off.
“The remaining items are the installation of the conductors and mounting of electrical panels in the control room.
“What is delaying these installations is funding. If we get funds, we can deliver this project in the next four months.
“We have six feeders going out of the sub-station and this will take care of the five LGAs currently without light for over 12 years,” Obayolu said. (NAN)