The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), says its six billion naira 132/33KV Sub Station designed to provide electricity for over 2, 000 riverside communities in Ondo State will be ready for use soon.
Dr Akwagaga Enyia, the NDDC Acting Managing Director, gave this assurance while addressing newsmen during an inspection of the project in Okitipupa on Monday.
Enyia, who was in company with the state deputy governor, Agboola Ajayi, said she was excited that the commission was constructing “a huge power station” in the oil-producing area of the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the project got stalled for over 10 months as a result of non payment of the outstanding Interim Payment Certificate (IPC).
However, the NDDC met that obligation last week and work began in earnest as a target completion period of the first quarter of 2020 has been agreed between contractors and the commission.
“I was told that for some time, there was a delay in the progress of work on site. When I came on board as the Acting MD, I made sure that funds were released to put the project on fast-track. That is why work is going on at a much faster pace now,” he said.
Enyia stated that it was one of the key projects with many months of outstanding Interim Payment Certificates, which the commission had cleared to pave the way for progress at the site.
Enyia assured that as more funds were made available to the commission, payment would be sustained to guarantee early completion of the project, stating that the contractor had promised to complete the project by the first quarter of 2020.
Also, the deputy governor said the commission had done well in spite of some challenges which were expected in any organisation, especially in an interventionist agency such as the NDDC.
He expressed delight that over 2,000 oil-producing communities spread across five local government areas of Ilaje, Ese-Odo, Okitipupa, Odigbo and Irele, all in Ondo South Senatorial District, would benefit from the sub-station.
“We must look at how we can strengthen the NDDC to enable it to deliver on its mandate. We need to encourage and support NDDC to do more for the people of the region.
“For us, this is the most important project NDDC is executing in the state. If you deliver this project, you will have delivered the whole of Ondo South from the pains of lack of public power supply.
“All of us will be happy with you, and the economy of the area which had been crippled for many years, will begin to boom,” the deputy governor said.
Ajayi, who emphasised that the project was very dear to the people, urged the NDDC and the federal government not to relent in their efforts until the project is completed.
The Executive Director, Engineering and Technical Services, Niger Delta Power Holding Co Ltd., Ifeoluwa Oyedele, said the inspection by NDDC was significant because it underscored the importance of collaboration among agencies of government.
He said that the NDDC sub-station would be fed from NDPHC power station in Omotosho, which, according to him, was grossly underutilised.
“We have four turbines at the station, but at the moment, we are firing only one while the rest are idle,” he said.
According to Oyedele, the southern senatorial district of Ondo State represents the core economic base of the state, as it is the oil-producing area.
He said that the absence of public power supply in the area had strangulated the state economy for 12 years.
Mr Benson Obayomi, the MD, Stedy Engineering Ltd, the contractors handling the project, said the scope of the contract included the evacuation of light from Omotosho with a step-down at Ireje through a 132KV double circuit line with two 30/40MVA transformers at Okitipupa.
According to him, the transmission lines run through Ireje with 145 electricity towers that are standing on concrete foundations.
Obayomi said that all materials needed for the project were already on-site at Okitipupa, listing them to include 45 kilometres of wires and 240 kilometres of conductors.
A traditional ruler from Ilaje Local Government Area, Oba Oluwashegun Akinyomi, thanked the NDDC for the intervention, noting that all hands were on deck to deliver the project on time.
He lauded the NDDC for stepping in to resolve a prolonged electricity problem in the oil-producing communities.