The Federal Government yesterday raised the cost of completing the 18.7kilometre Bulu-Oriagbene road in Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State by N500 million.
Briefing journalists after a meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), at the State House, Abuja, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, said the construction of the road was a project of the ministry, which has already attained 97 per cent completion.
Meanwhile,, Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, said FEC also passed a resolution granting the request of the University of Ibadan to acquire a new microscope at the tune of N190 million, in furtherance of the Federal Government’s efforts to revitalise the education sector.
According to Akpabio, his Ministry presented two memos to FEC, which were both approved. He confirmed that one of the memos was an augmentation of the contract for the construction of Bulu-Oriagbene road in Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State.
However, he said the road, about 18.7 kilometres, had an initial contract price of about N8.5 billion, noting that the variation today inflated the contract price to about N9 billion, which FEC approved.
According to him, the contractors have six months to complete the project.
Also, he said the FEC approved the floating of a digital platform where projects executed by the ministry can be monitored.
He said: “There is what we call Strategic Implementation Work Plan (SIWP) for the Niger Delta region. The intention 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 will have all their projects keyed into that portal.”
Akpabio said the portal was introduced to help in the coordination of activities of the ministry and to prevent duplication of projects, noting that the ministry has so far completed 50 projects, which their inauguration was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his remarks, the Education minister, Nwajiuba, said;
“This is a microscope, which is totally directed at enhancing whatever material, looking at the nuclear composition of its molecular nature. This is at our premier university. Like you all understand that the Department of Anatomy has been at the forefront of this coordinated 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 the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). It was then agreed on 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 PhD and further research students abroad on the basis of the lack of this particular equipment.
“The cost at the moment is only N190,552,000. N190 million will be made available by the federal government and the 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,” he added.
The particular microscope to be procured was not stated. However, findings by Ripples Nigeria showed that microscopes that are suitable for universities range between $1000 and $5000 (about N2 million).
On his part, Minister of Power, Mr. Mamman Sale, stated that FEC approved the construction of three substations, two in Kano State and one in Benue State, and the extension of transmission lines in Umuahia, Abia State and Mbano, Imo State.
He put the cost for the extension of transmission lines in Abia and Imo States at $506,324.40 plus N34,034,000 local content.
On the amount for the construction of three substations in Zaki-Biam, Benue State and Bichi and Kanyi, Kano State, Sale said the one in Zaki-Biam was $8.6 million while the local content was 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,” he added.
When asked why the ministry was embarking on new projects, he 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.”
Supporting Sale’s position, Information and Culture Minister, Lai Mohammed said: “You see, before now, there’ve been complaints 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.”
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