FG Approves $64.2m for Electrification of Rural Oil Communities

  • Says worst days on flood over

Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) wednesday in Abuja approved $64.2million for electrification of some communities around the escravos areas of Delta State.

The federal government has also given an assurance that the worst days on flood are over as the level of water in Cameroun is declining.

Briefing journalists at the end of the weekly FEC meeting in the Presidential Villa, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, said protest by affected communities in the past had stalled plans by the federal government to execute the Escravos to Lagos pipeline project.

According to him, the communities queried the rationale behind moving 50 per cent of gas from the host communities to supply power to other places when they did not have access to power supply.

Kachikwu who said since then, the escravos project had been stalled, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has hitherto been spending N18 million to fuel generators to power the communities.

However, he said with the approval of $64. 2 million by FEC yesterday, permanent structure to power the communities would finally be put in place within the next four or five years.

“The intervention of the council that we sought today was to seek approval of the council for the award of contract for the supply of power to contiguous communities that are around the escravos area as part of the ELBS scheme.

“You will understand that previously, we had approval to execute the escravos to Lagos pipeline system which was stalled because the host communities came and said ‘why will you move 50 per cent of the gas to provide power to other areas when the host communities did not have power supply?

“So, they stalled the project for a long time. Today, we approached the council to approve $64.235, 644 million to fund and also distribute the power within the immediate communities. The council was gracious to approve that to two specific companies. One is to build the power plant to supply power itself and the other day to distribute the power to all the affected communities

“We believe that with this, power will be provided to the immediate communities within a period of four, five years and it will be a permanent structure. In the absence of that, the only way we have been able to maintain peace in the communities is that the NNPC has to use generators to provide light to those areas which has been costing N18 million to enable us maintain peace in the communities . So, today, the council graciously approved $64 million to enable us supply power to those communities,” Kachikwu said.

In his own briefing, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said the council approved some finances for the operations of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

“Amongst the approvals, three went to the EFCC. EFCC received approvals for facility maintenance service for their new 10 storey building. They got N500 million for upkeep and maintenance of the place.

“They also got approvals for procurement of 700 computers, 100 lap tops and 25 laser printers at about N459 million. The third one is the purchase of 15 utility vehicles. They are expanding and need the vehicles for their operations. All the vehicles are from local assembly plants,” Shehu said.

Also briefing, Minister of Water Resources, Malam Suleiman Adamu, said the council also approved revised estimated total cost for the complete rehabilitation of Cham Dam as well as the development of about 100 hectares of dam irrigation in Balanga Local Government Area of Gombe State.

According to him, the dam project started in 2011 but was stalled by paucity of funds after 65 per cent completion, adding that his ministry had to renegotiate with the contractors, leading to a request for augmentation to the tune of N612 million.

He said the project which was being executed by Upper River Benue Development Authority, was originally constructed in 1982, adding that after some unprecedented rainfall and probably inadequate provision, there were attendant problems and therefore has to be reconstructed.

“The original contract cost was N832 million in 2011. This is why we came for this request for augmentation that now brings the total cost to N1.4 billion. The original cost was N832 million in 2011, seven years ago,” he said.

Adamu also said he briefed the council on the latest flood crisis ravaging some parts of the country, saying “I was happy to report to council that as at Saturday, the water level in Lokoja had dropped by 6.7 centimeters and it is still going down.”

Adamu who said the worst days are over, added that water level in Cameroun is also going down. “Hopefully, the worst is over except there is unforeseeable and unprecedented amount of rainfall that is also unlikely to happen. We think the worst is over,” he added