Past governments abandoned 800 containers of power equipment – Lai Mohammed

Eight hundred containers of power equipment meant to help boost power generation in the country were abandoned at the ports by past administrations, Information Minister Lai Mohammed said yesterday.

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He said in a television interview that the containers were abandoned because contractors were not paid.

But he said the Buhari administration has retrieved 690 of the containers.

He said the contractors have also been paid and mobilised to site. “How many hours of power did we have? When we came in all the GENCOs were generating were under 5000 megawatt, which we have been able to raise to 7000.

“Today people who live in parts of Ondo that have not seen power for 10 years will tell you they now have power.

“As a matter of fact, not only do we generate 7000 megawatt of power, by the end of this year we will generate additional 2000 megawatt,” he said.

On challenges of power distribution, the Minister said the government had put measures in place to solve the problem.

“If once in a while there is problem in distribution, it is not about generation. Yes there is this disconnect between the generation and distribution and this is where the government has come in to help the distribution companies through a programme called the Distribution Expansion Project,” he said.

He further reiterated the effort of the present government in working to revive the Mambilla Power Project,

According to him, going by the effort of the present government the Mambilla Plateau will generate additional 3050 megawatt of power in a few years time.

He pointed out that President Muhammadu Buhari was the only one that had summoned the courage and political will to see that the project was revived.

“We have improved on what we inherited because we put together a payment assurance scheme of N701 billion to ease the difficulties of gas suppliers and generating companies who complained that they have the capacity to generate but the discos do not have the capacity to pay them.

“In the area of distribution, we were distributing 2,690 megawatts of power in 2015.

“January 2018, we distributed 5,125 megawatts. So, in every area of power we have stories to tell,” he added.

Mohammed explained that beyond power, the Federal Government had touched the lives of Nigerians positively in other areas including education, agriculture, infrastructure and technological development.

“The N100 billion Sukuk bond that was divided into N16.6 billion for each of the geopolitical zones is powering infrastructure of 25 critical roads.

“The present government has invested in bridges, roads and rails and had put aside a 1.3billion dollar under the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund to ensure that five critical projects did not suffer from funding.

“Some of these projects have been there for about 40 years, such as the Mambilla Power Project, Second Niger Bridge, the East West road, the Lagos-Ibadan Express Way and the Abuja-Kano road. “There is no area that this government has not touched,” he said.

Also speaking in Omu-Aran, Kwara State, on Friday when he paid a courtesy visit to the Olomu of Omu-Aran, Oba Abdulraheem Oladele Adeoti, the minister said the Federal Government is fixing the nation’s dilapidated infrastructure despite its lean resources, occasioned by the fall in oil prices.

According to him, “Things have gone so bad in the country before the advent of this Administration and these are what we are working to fix. Before we came to power oil prices soared but nothing was done with the money.

”But, upon assumption of office, the price went down significantly. Even at that, we have done more with the little resources than the previous administrations,” he said.

Responding to the Oba’s plea for the development of more infrastructure in the area, Mohammed said the contract for the Ilorin-Omu-Aran-Kabba-Lokoja road has already been awarded, adding that he would soon inspect the project to find out what is hindering its timely execution.

He congratulated the Oba on his ascension to the throne of his forefathers and equally condoled with him over the death of the first Military Governor of Kwara State, Brig. -Gen. David Bamigboye (rtd), who hailed from Omu-Aran.

In his remarks, the Olomu appealed to the Federal Government to establish an institution of higher learning in the community due to its rich history and population.

He also asked the Federal Government to immortalize the late Gen. Bamigboye as a mark of honour for his patriotism and selfless service to the people of Kwara State.

“He did a lot as a Governor of the old Kwara State in the areas of education and infrastructural development. We want the Federal Government to immortalize him by naming a street in his honour in the Federal Capital Territory,” the traditional ruler said.

Meanwhile, the Minister also on Friday paid a condolence visit to the family of the late Gen. Bamigboye.

Speaking during the visit, he described the late General as a statesman who laid the foundation for the socio-economic development of Kwara and Kogi States.

“The General left his indelible marks in the sand of time, especially as it relates to Kwara State. What you have witnessed today in terms of socio-economic development is largely due to the effort of the late General,” he said.

The Minister said despite his young age when he assumed the leadership of the old Kwara State, Gen. Bamigboye showed uncommon foresight and wisdom in governing the state.


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