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Power probe: More stinking revelations

Posted by By JAMES OJO, Port Harcourt on 2008/04/05 | Views: 470 |

Power probe: More stinking revelations


In continuation of visit to sites of projects awarded under the National Independent Power Projects (NIPP) in Rivers State, the Power and Steel Committee of the House of Representatives on Wednesday discovered that a controversial company, M. Schneider Energy Nigeria Limited, which won the N4.1billion contract for the construction of Borokiri sub-station had never been to the site.

In continuation of visit to sites of projects awarded under the National Independent Power Projects (NIPP) in Rivers State, the Power and Steel Committee of the House of Representatives on Wednesday discovered that a controversial company, M. Schneider Energy Nigeria Limited, which won the N4.1billion contract for the construction of Borokiri sub-station had never been to the site.

The committee also learnt that Electromontaz Consortium that won the construction of N2.5billion Onne sub-station, with 10 per cent advance payment already made, had no site to work on.

M. Schneider, it would be recalled, was linked to Senator Iyabo Obasanjo on the controversial supply of medical equipment and power contracts.

At the proposed site of the sub-station, opposite Naval Medical Centre, the contractor was not available, even though the NIPP said that the contractor had been mobilized to the tune of 5 per cent of the contract sum.

A member of the committee, Hon Chris Berewari, whose house is a stone’s throw to the site, insisted that the residents had never seen anybody working on the plot, stressing that the land had been lying fallow for many years.

But Mr C. N. Okonkwo, the NIPP Director of Technical Service said the contract for the Borokiri sub-station was split into three components to fast-track its completion.
He, however, said that some aspects of the contract were yet to be approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), although he added that the delay was not enough for the contractor not to move to site.
At the 46-year old Afam terminal station, built to generate 52 megawatts, the committee was informed by the Director of Plant Services, Mr Donatus Obiagazie that N12 million was actually needed to maintain the turbines monthly, but that the monthly imprest approved by the Ministry of Power was N9 million.

Since the inception of the Yar’Adua administration, he said that no minister had visited the station to know the level of decay arising from years of neglect and underfunding.
Contrary to instructions handed down by the builders of the power plant that general overhauling should be carried out every two years because of aging, Engr. Obiagazie said the last time such an exercise was carried out was in 2001.

Consequently, he said the plant was not contributing any megawatt to the national grid, as none of the production units was working.
To fix back units 15 and 16, he said that it would cost the Federal Government $6 million, while units 17 and 18 would cost $38 million.
Worst still, he said the problem of power outage was compounded by the non-generation of Afam 5 plant built by Siemens in 2002.

The twin Afam 5 plants was designed to produce 138 megawatts each, but as at the time of the visit of the committee, the plant was lying waste, producing nothing.
Siemens, at the completion of the plant gave a two-year guarantee that the entire components must be changed, but technicians revealed that at no time did the plant work as it was discovered that the gas valve, a major component to pump up the turbines up to 10 per cent was faulty.

“Siemens handed over the plant to the management with an instruction to replace the components in the next two years, but what we discovered before the two years was that a major component, that is, the gas valve was faulty, hence Nigeria could not benefit from the then latest technology in thermal generation,” the official said.

He said he was aware that NNPC has not been forthcoming in the funding of the project, adding that the nation’s oil company owed $555 million counter funding.
Energovod Sro, the contractor for the Afam 4 Switch Yard awarded at $1.2 billion in 2006 was yet to move to site, although NIPP said that it has paid 5% of the contract sum.
The 330kv station is to evacuate power from the Afam power axis to Alaoji in Imo State, with completion date of February 10, 2008.

The committee visited the Onne Port, where turbines, coolers and pipes imported by Rockson Engineering for the power projects in Calabar, Gbarain in Bayelsa State, Egbema in Imo State and Omoku in Rivers State where security was extremely tight at the Shell/NNPC Joint Venture power generation plant, built to generate 650 megawatts, following abduction of 11 workers by militants last year.

Head of Health and Security of the plant, Vincent Tibbs told the committee that he was not informed about the visit. He had to make phone calls before he listened to the committee members.
Arumeini Johnson and Senator Anietie Okon that conducted the committee round the equipment at the Onne yard blamed the non evacuation of the turbines to Egbema on the Imo River bridge, which he said was not strong enough to transport the turbines built to specification.

He said Rockson would need a ramp built on Imo River to take the turbines to site.
Welcoming the committee to River State, Governor Rotimi Amaechi urged President Yar’Adua to support the National Assembly in carrying out oversight functions, noting that it was when everybody assigned to do a duty performed well that the society will develop.
He lamented the darkness that had been the lot of residents of Port Harcourt in recent times, saying that it had affected the economic and social lives of the city.

Governor Amaechi said that for regular supply of electricity in the state, nothing less than 250 megawatts must be generated and distributed, while urging the committee to end the jubilation each time power was restored after an outage.
With adequate supply of electricity, he said that jobs would be created for the army of youths roaming the streets looking for what to do to earn a living.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.