From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The 37th virtual Federal Executive Council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, Wednesday approved additional N500 million as variation for the completion of 18.7 kilometers Bulu-Oriagbene road in Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State.
Minister of Niger-Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio disclosed this to State House Correspondents, at the end of the two hour meeting.
He is explained that the construction of the road is a project of the Niger-Delta Ministry, which has already attained 97 percent completion.
Akpabio said: “The Ministry of Niger-Delta Affairs presented two memos today at the Federal executive Council and both were approved. One was just augmentation or a variation of the contract for the construction of Bulu-Oriagbene road in Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State.
“The road is about 18.7 kilometres and the initial contract price was about N8.5 billion and with the variation price today, the contract price is now about N9 billion and the Federal executive Council today approved that variation.”
The Minister said the contractors have been given six months to complete the project.
Akpabio said council also approved the floating of a digital platform where projects executed by his ministry can be monitored at all times.
He said: “The second memo I presented was on what we call Strategic Implementation Work Plan (SIWP), for the Niger Delta region. The intension here is to have a web-based monitoring system, an e-portal where all the agencies under us and development partners as well as non-governmental organisations including states and local governments that are involved in implementing projects in the Niger Delta region, we will have all their projects keyed into that portal.
“This is to ensure that at the touch of the button you can see what each company, state or local government or international organisation is doing as they add value to the Niger Delta region.”
Akpabio explained that the reason for introducing the portal is to help in coordination and also prevent duplication of projects.
He also announced that the ministry has so far completed 50 projects that are now awaiting inauguration, which was delayed by the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, on his part said Council, in continuation of the efforts of the federal government to revitalize and repurpose the education sector, passed a resolution granting the request of the University of Ibadan to acquire a new microscope.
He explained: “This is a microscope which is totally directed at enhancing whatever material, looking at nuclear composition of its molecular nature.
“This is in our premier university. Like you all understand that the Department of Anatomy has been at the forefront of this coordinate research in Nigeria for many years since its inception in 1948. The first of such equipment was given to us in 1967 by the Japanese government, but it has become obsolete. And the federal government has had the opportunity to review many of the requests from the university authorities, including Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). It was then agreed in the NEEDS assessment report.
“The replacement of these kinds of equipment falls into the fulcrum of what the NEEDS assessment report asked
that we do. So, the request by the University of Ibadan has been approved so that we can stop spending the kind of money we spend sending Ph.D and further research students abroad on the basis of the lack of this particular equipment.
“So, government is looking at this proactively in the sense that it will stem the amount of money we send abroad, and how much time our people spend. And if University of Ibadan is empowered to do this, and acquires this equipment, it will become the fulcrum for many other research faculties around the country since we will now have this Institute in the country. Everybody will be able to access it, including those from neighbouring West African countries.
“Our experience while at TETFUND showed that many of the research requests had to do with the non-availability of particular targeted equipment in the country and the federal government in his holistic attempt to address both its economic and social values as well as upgrade our educational targets, then approves this to be able to address all that.
“The cost at the moment is only N190,552,000. N190 million will be made available by the federal government and University of Ibadan will be adding N552,000 as their own counterpart fund from Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). Within 16 weeks (four months), we will have this equipment in the country.”
Minister of Power, Mamman Sale on his part said, council proved the construction of three sub-stations, two in Kano State and one in Benue State.
Council also approved the extension of transmission lines in Umuahia, Abia State and Mbano, Imo State.
Sale said the cost for the extension of transmission lines in Abia and Imo States is $506,324.40 plus N34,034,000 local content.
On the amount for the construction of three sub-stations in Zaki-Biam, Benue State and Bichi and Kanyi, Kano State – the one in Zaki-Biam is $8.6 million while the local content is N2.08 billion. The second one in Bichi is $9.6 million plus N1.7 billion local content. The one in Kanyi, Kano State is $9.5 million plus N1.7 billion.
On why the ministry was embarking on new projects, the minister said: “There has not been any problem so far. But we just have to expand the national grid for sustainable supply of electricity and also to improve capacity. That is all.”
Collaborating Sale’s position, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed said: “You see, before now, there’s been complained that more power is being produced compared to what is being wheeled out.
“So, what he’s been doing recently, is to improve the capacity of the TCN to transmit more power. So, all these contracts you heard of is about improving the capacity of the TCN so that when this electricity is produced, it will get to our homes.”