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Violence against contractors hampers electrification goal – Nnaji

By Oscarline Onwuemenyi
The Federal Government has vowed to by pass any community whose interferences have retarded the pace of work in electrification programme throughout the country.

It also warned that the realization of the electric power mandate of the present administration has a timeline and that the sacking of contractors from sites by some hostile communities was unacceptable.

The Minister of Power, Prof Bart Nnaji, made the declaration while reviewing the pace and progress of activities in the sector with the Chief Executives of the Generating Companies of Nigeria, GENCOs in his office.

GENCOs are companies that generate the electricity which the zonal Distribution Companies, DISCOs supply to consumers.

Responding to the minister’s quest for station-by-station situation report, the GENCo Chief Executive Officers cited community interferences as one of their most pressing challenges, with some of them leading to sacking of their contractors and workers, thereby slowing down the transformational train of the sector.

Nnaji noted that it was in order to meet the timeline set for the conclusion of the Sector Reform that the Government adequately compensated communities whose land would be affected by the project.

He however, regretted that even after such compensations had been made, some dissident groups turned back to ask for more and obstruct progress of work.

“Government does not work that way” Nnaji said and directed that such communities should henceforth be bye-passed in the electrification programme if they did not put a stop to their intransigence.

He drew the attention of such communities to the benefits they would derive in allowing the power projects to go on smoothly pointing out that apart from the allocation of transformers, contracting firms offer jobs to some of the indigenes. The minister also directed the CEOs to pay the 50% wage increase to their staff if their staff biometric data capturing had been successfully concluded.

He encouraged the CEOs to remain dutiful and treat as sabotage staff who forward wrong data to the National Control Centre, NCC, against what is on ground and directed that all reports generated by the zones be henceforth, counter signed by the CEOs.

Nnaji also said that the attention of government has been drawn to some Business Managers who manipulated lists of staff on emolument and other entitlements and backdated their records in order to milk the system and directed that the CEOs would be held responsible for lapses leading to such losses for the government.

The chief executives had individually briefed the minister on their progresses, expectations, and challenges, which boiled down to the lack of adequate funds to replace aged and obsolete components.

Additionally, the CEO Kainji, Mr. Yinka Akinwumi, decried the low water level of the Kainji Dam, which not only hamper maximum generation for the turbines, but also automatically disables the Jebba hydro power station.

Meanwhile, Nnaji conveyed Mr. President’s directive that the CEOs should ensure that they “did not fall below where they are now, as all eyes are on you. You must be sensitive to National aspiration and trust on your abilities to sustain the current progress.”


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