*As Enugu Locals Celebrate Flourish of Rural Electrification
The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has commended Enugu State Government for its support in securing the right-of-way for the completion of the power project being handled by the company in the university town of Nsukka.
Since 2006, the important power line project has been stalled owing to disputes between the TCN and host communities over right of way. When completed, the project would boost electricity supply to millions of residents in the Enugu North senatorial district of the state.
As work commenced at the station 12 years after it was abandoned, residents of some rural communities in Igbo-Eze North council area of the state are celebrating effective commencement of electricity supply to facilities installed by Governor Ifeanyi Uguwanyi in his aggressive rural electrification projects across the state.
TCN’s Assistant General Manager, Transmission, Enugu Sub-station, Engr. Bakare Kazim, who spoke to newsmen said Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi-led administration has set the pace in helping to resolve the issue of transmission access line acquisition which almost stalled the progress of work at the 30MVA injection sub-station in Nsukka, calling on other state governments to emulate this exemplary leadership.
While briefing newsmen at the transmission station in Nsukka, Kazim said “This 30 MVA injection sub-station has been completed since 2006 but for the problem of litigation and inaccessibility of the power line, it was not possible to hook up the station. Consequently, our MD/CEO, Mr. Mohammed Gur, made a move and contacted Enugu State Government and they had a wonderful discussion and he was able to convince the government to help secure the right-of-way and access issue.
“If this facility is left unused, it would continue to deteriorate despite the fact that it is a new sub-station. The MD met with the governor and they had a fruitful discussion and he (the governor) helped us tremendously to secure the access line to the station. As I speak with you, main access has been cleared””, he said.
He added that the plant is able to give 24 mega watts of power which would augment the 12 mega watts coming from the obsolete 66KVA voltage level from Oji River which according to him, has been phased out in the entire nation, assuring that upon completion, it would enhance power generation in Nsukka and environs.He however warned those acquiring property close to TCN line to desist forthwith to avoid litigation problems.
Also speaking, the General Manager of the state’s Rural Electrification Board, Simon Atigwe, an engineer, said the state government decided to wade into the matter to resolve the issue of the right-of-way so as to give succour to the residents who need the service of the facility.
When asked whether the owners of the houses and economic trees where the transmission line passed were compensated, Mr. Atigwe said “Individually, they have gotten what I feel should be fair to them but the state government has promised to assist them to ensure that what is due to them is given to them. Though the Federal Government pays the compensation, there are areas that were not involved in the job originally which the state government has accepted to pay.”
The residents of the area, Echeji Hillary, and Amarachi Fabian expressed their happiness over the power project as that would translate to an end to the epileptic power supply which has marred social and economic undertakings in the area.
Reports from the rural communities had it that in the past few days, it has been celebration in Olido and some neighbouring communities in Igbo-Eze North local government area as electric power supply came on live, a development they had waited for in anxiety since the facilities were installed by the state government awaiting switch-on by the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company.
They commended Governor for keeping his promise of opening up the rural areas of the state to catalyze even development of the state.