House Wants N13.6bn Kwale Power Project In 2016 Budget

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The House of Representatives has given a mandate to the Federal Minsitry of Finance to include in the 2016 budget, the sum of N13.6billion for the step down of electric power from the 480 megawatts Independent Power Plant (IPP) operated by Nigeiran Agip Oil Company (NAOC) at Okpai in Ndokwa/Ukwuani federal constituency of Delta State.
This directive is aimed at ending 10 years of absence of electricity across several communities surrounding the thermal power station.
The demand followed the adoption of the resolutions of a motion of urgent national importance on the need to avert a clash between the youth of the host communities of the power plant and the oil firm over the refusal of the latter to comply with a presidential directive that the communities should be electrified from the power plant on their land.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo had directed NAOC to provide electricity for the host communities of the 480 megawatts IPP when he commissioned the plant in April 2005.
The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report conducted prior to the establishment of the facility stated in very unambiguous term that 50 megawatts of electricity would be stepped down for the benefit of the communities within 50kilimetres radius from the plant.
In spite of the provision, the communities are said to have continued to wallow in darkness while the electricity generated from their neighbourhood is transmitted to the national grid and distributed across nine states of the federation.
Worried by the failure of NAOC to heed the presidential directive and respect the terms of the EIA report, Ndokwa leaders have sought peaceful means to realize the step down of the electicity to the people to no avail.
They had equally visited the Minister and the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Power in September 2014 where an approval for its step down was made and was marked to be included in the 2015 budget.
The Tide gathered that this situation which had been generating tension in the area led to a mass protest and the issuance of 21-day ultimatum to NAOC to commence the process of the immediate step down of the 50 Megawatts of electricity or shut down the facility.
Representative of Ndokwa/Ukwuani Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon Ossai Nicholas Ossai, said there was an urgent need for the Federal Government to intervene in the crisis before the expiration of the ultimatum.
The lawmaker said the issue could degenerate to a breakdown of law and order if nothing positive was done to address the demand of the communities at the expiration of the 21-day ultimatum given by the youth to shut down the facility.
In the meantime, the lower chamber of the National Assembly has mandated an Adhoc committee to look into the issue and to report back to the House within two weeks.