BY YERWA EXPRESS NEWS, MARCH 16, 2022 | 05:13 PM
The Maiduguri Gas Power Plan may not be ready for use this month (March) as previously promised.
The gas plant was meant to provide an alternative power source to Maiduguri and environs, as a result of the continuous destruction of transmission towers by Boko Haram terrorists.
The city was cut off from the national grid and thrown into darkness for nearly a year, starting January 2021—with many still yet to be reconnected after a widely celebrated (yet partial) restoration last December.
According to the government, despite spending several amount of money in fixing the destroyed towers, which are located along the highly volatile Maiduguri - Damaturu Road, the terrorists continued to sabotage it.
This caused huge economic setbacks to the state, forcing government, businesses and individuals, among others, to disrupt their budget plans to accommodate the cost of alternative power generation.
In view of the intractability of the problem and persistence of the terrorists in destroying the lines, the group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mele Kyari Kolo announced last April the establishment of a gas power plant, vowing to get it done within six months—which would have been completed by end of 2021.
His vow was reinvigorated by a further presidential affirmation in May same year, when Muhammadu Buhari mentioned in his speech—in Maiduguri—of having ordered the NNPC to expedite the project.
Pundits and members of the public who claim some knowledge of the technical requirements in such works treated the claims with skepticism, raising doubts as to whether it could be delivered within the time given.
They turned out to be right, as it is now 11 months down.
The contract for the project was not signed until August, five months following the promise. CMEC and GE were the contractors.
Similarly, the groundbreaking ceremony of the work took place in October, the supposed month of its delivery.
Then came Governor Babagana Umara Zulum’s promise in December last year of its completion this month: March, 2022.
That cannot happen, YERWA EXPRESS NEWS has now learnt.
At the project site in TCN’s office along Baga (now Dangote) Road in Maiduguri where the foundation laying took place, the work done was nothing to write home about.
An industrial borehole, as well as a block of project offices, were so far the only work done, according to an assessment by our reporters who sneaked into the site.
After several days of visits, the reporters who were disguised as some customers of the TCN, overheard from officials that a soil test of the site is similarly ongoing at some laboratories, the location of which YERWA EXPRESS NEWS could not ascertain.
They similarly learnt that the major equipment for the project have been ordered, with the status of their delivery withheld for security concerns, by editorial discretion.
Feelers privy to developments in official circles confirmed to YERWA EXPRESS NEWS that the equipment for the project ‘have been truly procured and a soil test is no doubt ongoing’.
The source, who spoke to us in absolute confidence, said that the installation of the infrastructure—once shipped to the site—may not take long, even though he/she didn’t give any date or timeframe.
‘The truth is that on projects like these, procurement is mostly a major problem because you it is not your hands and there are many uncertainties here and there,’ the source said.
As things stand, the March deadline is not feasible, YERWA EXPRESS NEWS has understood, except by some miracle.
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14 March 2022