The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has assured Ondo Southerners a total restoration of their electricity, after seven years of total blackout in Southern Senatorial District of the state.
The State Director of NDDC, Mr Emmanuel Audu, while speaking with journalists in Akure, the state capital, said the commission was working to connect the area to the national grid latest December 2017.
According to Audu, this area has been battling with power outage for almost seven years in which NDDC has risen to the occasion and ensured that the residents are brought back to limelight.
“From our findings, the 33kv supply line that connects the Southern Senatorial district emanates from Osogbo but the line is old, dilapidated and not in use which has put the communities in darkness”. He said.
Audu further said that NDDC found out that the solution required was to bring bulk power from Omotosho Power Plant to Okitipupa, and construction of 132kv line was awarded in 2013 from the power plant to Okitipupa which covers 60 km distance together with construction of transmitting line over 150 towers.
He also said the second part of the contract is construction of 2 by 30LVA injection substations to run 33 feeder lines that will power the areas.
“That project is currently on and we have achieved over 48 per cent completion of that project. And if that project comes on stream, the power issue within Igbokoda, Okitipupa and even the neighboring communities will be over,” he stated.
The NDDC director, however, decried funding challenges hindering the smooth payment to the contractors handling the project.
“Funding has affected it because we did not make the payment at as when due but efforts are on to get the contractor paid, though they are back to site now.
“We hope that before the end of this year or before the first quarter of next year we will round off that project and the electricity issue in the state will be totally resolved,” he assured.
While adding that paucity of money contributed to slow pace of series of projects seemed to have been abandoned in the area, the NDDC boss said,” NDDC gets its funding from Federal Government and oil companies but there has been drastic reduction of funding received from the companies because of reduction in their sales and we rely solely on them for project execution”.
“But we are working on it since this present administration came on board, the Federal Government has quite been responding as regard its payment. I had, nevertheless, talked with the contractors handling them; we had meetings and I made a promise to them and we were able to pay some of them, at least about 40 per cent of contractors are back to site.
“I think we are able to build confidence in the system once more and it’s a question of time, we believe that in a short time the projects will all be robust and everybody will be happy,” he stated
However, the state NDDC director noted that there is perennial problem in Niger Delta region, making construction period reduced, because of mangroves swam of the area.
“We have rain most of the time and we have less than 4 months in a year to actively do construction and if you are doing road construction you need good weather to work and all these factors hamper the work, but the state office is up to the task by engaging with contractors,” he assured.