THE Minister for Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, last weekend inspected Federal Government’s on-going projects in the South-East geopolitical zone, starting from Abia, Imo, Enugu, Ebonyi to Anambra states.
Arriving the Enugu border with Abia State, after his departure from Imo State, the Minister rode through one flank of the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway, stopping at the CGC asphalt plant located at Awgu. On arrival in Enugu State, Fashola expressed disappointment on the garbage he saw along the way at Okigwe (Imo State) and Lokpanta (Abia State) points. He immediately called on the affected state governments to clear the markets, refuse and so much rubbish that have taken over the spots. It was at Awgu that the Minister plied the ongoing road construction up to Enugu-Port Harcourt road after the contractor said he hopes to achieve 15 per cent completion by December, whereas 23km asphalting has been done.
Both the Minister and the Federal Controller of Works in Enugu State, Engr. Femi Oyekanmi expressed reservations and disappointment on the part of the contractor for slow pace of work. From there, the team passed through Nenwe-Oduma-Uburu, Ebonyi State road construction where work has gone on to very commendable extent. After a courtesy call on Governor Dave Umahi, the minister inspected the Ezzamgbo Federal Housing project, where he made remarks against state governments embarking on constructions of federal highways without permission from Abuja. Fashola emphatically told state governors that the Federal Government will not pay for any work they execute on federal roads if permissions were not properly obtained before the execution. He emphatically said that state governments should stop further execution of such projects until the Federal Government clears outstanding debts to states on such jobs. He also inspected the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, where he noted that the very dilapidated 15 kilometers Abakpa junction-9th Mile section will be re-awarded since the former contractor absconded from the job. He however, commended the contractor working from 9th Mile to Ezeagu section of the road.
Unknown to electricity consumers in Enugu State and environs, the New Haven transmission sub-station has been upgraded to accommodate additional 70 megawatts to boost power supply from the sub-station. After inspecting the installations, Fashola said: “It’s a transmission sub-station taking power from the grid at 132 KV, that’s a lot of voltage, stepping it down to 33 from where they now provide service to the Discos. TCN, the owner of this substation, is the transporter of power, wheeling it from where it is generated to a Disco such as the Enugu Disco that serves the Eastern part of Nigeria, essentially.
“So Enugu Disco takes the power at 33 and takes it down to 11and finally to 415 volts where it comes to your home, that’s when the power is safe. Now, what they do is that they use feeders to send the power to different parts of their distribution franchise, to different communities, towns and locations. “Now apart from adding more power, about 70 megawatts, if you know that one megawatt can power roughly 200 homes, if you multiply 200 by 70, you will see the number of people that will be served here when the additional 70 megawatts is switched on in a few weeks. What is being awaited is the fire protection system in the transformers. “What we have done here is that we have two new transformers of 60 MVA each; that means an additional 120 MVA to the existing 60 MVA, that is 180 MVA and it increases the total power intake addition by 70 megawatts which makes it over 190 megawatts for this Disco. What that means is that those industrial complexes can now be fed through a new feeder instead of clustering the old feeder. So there are four new feeders dedicated by the Disco, because they are the ones that know their customers, so they are the ones to decide who will receive it but we know they have nominated two people, one is the industrial cluster and the other one is for Ugwogo and another one for Independence Layout.”
At the Ugwogo-Nike site of the ongoing 2016 National Housing programme, Fashola expressed disappointment with both the contractors and supervisors for the poor quality jobs on the estate that includes 1, 2 and 3-bedroom bungalows that cumulatively amount to 23 unit blocks, most nearing completion. The minister at the end of the inspection noted that the Federal Government will not accept poor quality jobs. “If we pay you money, mix the cement properly, that is the ethical side of construction. You don’t know who will live there, it maybe you, it maybe your relation and we want to build houses that are safe for people to live in. So don’t cheat on the cement because we have paid you for it,” said Fashola. He later moved on to Anambra State where he further inspected the remaining portion of Enugu-Onitsha road under reconstruction, among other federal projects sited in the state.
By Dennis Agbo