27 September 2018

Nigeria: Why Govt Okayed U.S.$64 Million Contract for Escravos Power Supply

Abuja — THE Federal Government, yesterday, said $64 million had been approved for power supply to Escravos communities in Delta State.

The government also assured Nigerians that the ravaging effect of flood was over because the confluence town of Lokoja in Kogi State has recorded appreciable reduction of six centimetres in water levels over the past week.

Briefing State House correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, said the approval was given at FEC.

He explained that the contract was for supply of power to constituent communities around Escravos following the construction of a pipeline from there to Warri.

He said if executed, it will stop the N18 million spent monthly by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, to provide power to the area.

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Kachikwu said: "What we took to the council today was to seek approval for the award of contract for supply of power to the contiguous communities around the Escravos areas.

"We had approvals earlier to do the Escravos to Lagos pipeline system. It was then stalled following protests by the community over the plan to move 50 per cent of the gas to provide power to other areas when the communities did not have power."

"Today, Council approved $64m to fund two lots. One to build the power plant to supply power itself and the other to distribute the power to all the affected communities. With this, we believe power will now be provided for the communities within four or five years and become a permanent structure.

"The only way we had been able to maintain peace in the communities was to use generators to supply power which had been costing NNPC about N18m every month to manage.

"Council granted approval in two lots. With this, we believe power will now be provided for the communities within four or five years and become a permanent structure."

Also briefing the media, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said FEC also approved three memos for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

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According to him, EFCC got N500 million approval for facility maintenance service for its new 10 story building.

He said EFCC also got N459 million approval for procurement of 700 computers, 100 lap tops and 25 laser printers.

The third memo for EFCC, he said, was approval for the purchase of 15 utility vehicles.

He said, "They are expanding and need the vehicles for their operations. All the vehicles are from local assembly plants."

FEC, he said, also approved five water patrol boats for the Nigerian Ports Authority, Marina, Lagos, adding, "This is for coastline security."

The Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu while commenting on flood said that Lokoja was used as the benchmark for measuring the floodings because it received the major rivers of Benue and Niger, thus the worst hit by the floods.

He further stated that it was only and unexpected and very unlikely surge in rainfall by this time of the year, can reverse the receding water levels and floods.

He said, "The water level in Lokoja has dropped by six centimeters and the water level in Lagdo Dam in Cameroon is also going down. So, we think that the worst is over.

"Unless if any unforeseen incidence occurs now. We should be able to see most of the flood waters go down from now on."

He also said that the Council approved the revised total estimated cost for the complete rehabilitation of the Cham dam and development of 100 hectares of irrigation in Balanga local government area of Gombe state.

He said: "This is part of our efforts to complete projects we inherited which started in 2011 and suffered from supply of funds. Work stopped at about 65% completion, but we need to complete it so we renegotiated the project with the contractors.

"We, therefore, brought request for augmentation for N612m . The project is being handled by the Upper Benue River Basin Development Authority. It was originally constructed in 1982. It had to be reconstructed. The original contract cost was N832m in 2011."

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