The Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Kalu, on Friday, led a high-powered delegation from the Federal Government to inspect abandoned power transmission projects in Abia-North Senatorial zone.
IGBERE TV gathered that the Federal Government delegation drawn from the Ministry of power arrived Abia state on Thursday, this was in response to Senator Kalu’s earlier request in a letter dated 20th October to the Power Ministry for the revitalization of six uncompleted power transmission stations sited in Arochukwu,Umuahia,Ohafia and Isuikwuato LGAs of the zone.
The Federal Government’s team led by the Honourable minister of Power Engr. Mamman Kwagyang Saleh followed by the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Power; Chinyeaka Christian Ohaa, Managing Director Transmission Company of Nigeria; Engr Sule Ahmed and the Director of Transmission; Nosike Emmanuel as well as several other Directors and Engineers from the Ministry of power embarked on an inspection tour of the power transmission sites on Friday.
The uncompleted power stations commissioned in 2001 have since been abandoned by previous administrations; the power stations include: UMUAHIA-OHAFIA 132KV SINGLE CIRCUIT Transmission line, UMUAHIA-MBALANO 132KV SINGLE CIRCUIT Transmission line, OHAFIA-AROCHUKWU 132KV Transmission line , 2X30/40MVA, 132/33KV Substation at Mbalano ,2X30/40MVA, 132/33KV Substation at Ohafia and 2X30/40MVA, 132/33KV Substation at Arochukwu
In a bid to revitalise the projects abandoned for almost 20 years, Senator Kalu had earlier written to the Ministry of Power calling the attention of the Honourable Minister for Power, Engr. Mamman Saleh to the abandoned power transmission projects.
In response to Senator Kalu’s request a delegation of the Federal Government from the Ministry of power arrived Abia State on Thursday to commence the inspection tour on Friday.
The inspection Team asides from the Minister for Power, MD of Transmission Company of Nigeria(TCN) and the Senate Chief Whip also included; Directors and Engineers from the Ministry of Power, Staffs of TCN, Members for the Abia State House of Assembly and the Deputy Chief Whip of the House of Representatives Nkeiruka Onyejeocha amongst others.
The first point of call by the delegation was a Homage visit to the palace of the His Royal Majesty,Eze Aro of Arochukwu, followed by an onward journey to the six sites of the transmission power stations.
Speaking at the site of the uncompleted power transmission stations ; Senator Kalu lamented the non-completion of the projects which wrestling facilitied in 1999 during his administration as Governor of Abia-State.
Kalu in his speech reiterated the commitment of President Buhari’s administration to better the lots of Nigerians, while also giving assurances that the projects will be completed. Furthermore Kalu outlined the economic benefits of the power projects to the community and other parts of the country if eventually completed.
In his words “Few months ago I wrote to the honourable minister to see how his ministry can reactivate the power plants because these are part of the reasons we were elected. President Buhari is committed in reactivating all abandoned projects, we are constructing the roads and we also believe that power should not be left behind. The people will function economically when they are have both road and power infrastructures put in place. The Government of the All Progressives Congress are committed you can see the construction of roads all over this local Government; it shows that the APC Government is responsive.
I can assure you that in no distant time works to complete these abandoned power projects will commence that is why the minister came with a powerful delegation from Abuja with the Managing Director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Power and other directors and Engineers in the power sector.
Expressing his worry Kalu said “I am particularly worried because this project was initiated when I was Governor in 1999 , I facilitied these power plants when I was Governor but till date it has not been completed. But I am assuring you that President Buhari is committed to ensure that these projects will be completed.”
“This power station is of very good economic importance to this zone and the entire Southeast zone because once you generate electricity even people in Cross-River. The project will bring about economic development this is why you can see the deputy chief whip here and many other members of the house of Representatives are also here following you for us to do this project.”
On his part the Managing Director TCN; Engr Sule Ahmed explained to the delegation the constraints in the completion of the projects which according to him include; price variation, vandalism, obsolete equipments etc.
He said ” The major problem experienced with this station is that the line that is expected to energize this station is not completed and that line is Umuahia,Ohafia and Arochukwu so that’s the most important issue in this project.
The 2nd problem is that the contractor has requested for variation which we are currently working on, then these equipment have been installed for over 10 years so we have to test them again because they have been installed for a very long time and there have been vandalization of the cables. So the contractor has applied for variations to see that they are still okay.
“The prices submitted for this project in 2001 cannot complete this project now because prices have changed. All the equipments are here; procurements almost 95 % . Election 90% . So it’s just few works. This Substation goes all the way to Okigwe ; it’s a very strategic Substation he concluded.
Giving assurances the Minister for Power Engr. Saleh emphasised the commitment of the Federal Government to ensure that abandoned projects around the country gets completes. The minister stressed the importance of the six power stations to the community and the nation at large. He disclosed that a memo on the uncompleted was already prepared for onward submission to the Federal Executive for consideration stating that works on the abandoned power stations would begin next year 2021.
He said ” As you can all see this place is very bushy and the project has been abandoned for almost 20 years and that is why we are here. We are here to inspect to see things for ourselves and take immediate action. We want to assure the people of this community that, this project is one of the most important transmission stations we have in the country, in fact these are types of transmission stations that are really needed across the country to boost the capacity of our supply and I want to assure you all that we are going to expedite action on these uncompleted projects immediately we return to Abuja.
This project will not just benefit Abia-North but other areas and in extension the entire nation. This Substation is a 320-33Kva Substation and we will take most of our power extension from this station to expand our supply. On the time frame by next year this project will come up . When this project is completed it will attract investors. In fact I’m already putting a memo together on this to send to the Federal Executive council.