FG to Spend Additional N500m on Delta Road


FEC okays construction of substations in Benue, Kano

By Deji Elumoye

The federal government yesterday raised the cost of completing the 18.7kilometre long Bulu-Oriagbene road in Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State by N500 million.

It also approved the construction of electricity substations in Benue and Kano States as well as N190 million for the procurement of a microscope for the University of Ibadan.

Briefing journalists after a meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), at the State House, Abuja the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, said the construction of the road was a project of the ministry, which has already attained 97 per cent completion.

He said: “The Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs presented two memos today at the Federal Executive Council and both were approved.

“One was just augmentation or a variation of the contract for the construction of Bulu-Oriagbene road in Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State.

“The road is about 18.7 kilometres and the initial contract price was about N8.5 billion and with the variation price today, the contract price is now about N9 billion and the Federal executive Council today approved that variation.”

According to him, the contractors have within six months to complete the project.
The FEC also approved the floating of a digital platform where projects executed by his ministry can be monitored.

He said: “There is what we call Strategic Implementation Work Plan (SIWP) for the Niger Delta region. The intention here is to have a web-based monitoring system, an e-portal where all the agencies under us and development partners as well as non-governmental organisations, including states and local governments that are involved in implementing projects in the Niger Delta region will have all their projects keyed into that portal.”

Akpabio stated that the portal was introduced to help in coordination and also prevent duplication of projects.
Akpabio added that the ministry has so far completed 50 projects, whose inauguration is being delayed by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minister of State for Education, Mr. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, said FEC, in continuation of the efforts of the federal government to revitalise the education sector, passed a resolution granting the request of the University of Ibadan to acquire a new microscope.

“This is a microscope, which is totally directed at enhancing whatever material, looking at nuclear composition of its molecular nature. This is in our premier university. Like you all understand that the Department of Anatomy has been at the forefront of this coordinated research in Nigeria for many years since its inception in 1948.

“The first of such equipment was given to us in 1967 by the Japanese government, but it has become obsolete. And the federal government has had the opportunity to review many of the requests from the university authorities, including Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). It was then agreed in the NEEDS assessment report.

“The replacement of these kinds of equipment falls into the fulcrum of what the NEEDS assessment report asked that we do. So, the request by the University of Ibadan has been approved so that we can stop spending the kind of money we spend sending Ph.D and further research students abroad on the basis of the lack of this particular equipment.

“The cost at the moment is only N190,552,000. N190 million will be made available by the federal government and the University of Ibadan will be adding N552,000 as their own counterpart fund from Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). Within 16 weeks (four months), we will have this equipment in the country,” he added.

On his part, Minister of Power, Mr. Mamman Sale, stated that FEC approved the construction of three substations, two in Kano State and one in Benue State, and the extension of transmission lines in Umuahia, Abia State and Mbano, Imo State.

He put the cost for the extension of transmission lines in Abia and Imo States at $506,324.40 plus N34,034,000 local content.

On the amount for the construction of three substations in Zaki-Biam, Benue State and Bichi and Kanyi, Kano State, Sale said the one in Zaki-Biam was $8.6 million while the local content was N2.08 billion.
“The second one in Bichi is $9.6 million plus N1.7 billion local content. The one in Kanyi, Kano State is $9.5 million plus N1.7 billion,” he added.

Asked why the ministry was embarking on new projects, the minister said: “There has not been any problem so far but we just have to expand the national grid for sustainable supply of electricity and also to improve capacity. That is all.”

Supporting Sale’s position, Information and Culture Minister, Lai Mohammed said: “You see, before now, there’ve been complaints that more power is being produced compared to what is being wheeled out.

“So, what he’s been doing recently is to improve the capacity of the TCN to transmit more power. So, all these contracts you heard of is about improving the capacity of the TCN so that when this electricity is produced, it will get to our homes.”