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Delta Government To Sell Over N27 Billion IPP Project In Oghareki

By Kenneth Orusi, The Nigerian Voice, Asaba
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Delta State Government has set machineries in motion to finally put on sale the controversial Independent Power Plant (IPP) project situated in Oghareki, Ethiope West Local Government Area of the state.

The IPP project which was conceptualized in 2007 by the erstwhile administration of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan was planned to be executed within 30 months from the commencement of the project.

It was learnt that Uduaghan engaged the services of an engineering consultant who advised the state government to establish an Independent Power Plant to cater for the power needs of residents of the state.

But the project which was said to be contracted to Davnotch, an electrical engineering company said to be owned by former Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Victor Ochei, has received nocks from Deltans who accused the government of spending about N30 billion on the IPP with no result for over nine years.

It was initially estimated to cost four billion US dollars to be funded by the private sector including United Bank of Africa, Oceanic Bank (now Ecobank) as local lead investors, with Barclays and Bank Paribas as international syndicate with 30 months completion circle.

While many Deltans lauded the initiative with assurance from the immediate past Uduaghan’s government of commissioning the project before leaving office, the project has been abandoned leaving weeds and rodents which have converted the premises to roosting ground.

The project sometimes last year was destroyed by fire even as a cross section of Deltans lamented that the state government would not get close to what was spent on the project as it has drastically diminished hence the previous government could not get a bidder before leaving office.

Also, the principal contractor handling the project, Victor Ochei, has consistently told journalists that he had left the company, hence he had no business with the IPP project having divested his shares in the organisation.

Speaking with journalists in a media briefing, the state Commissioner for Finance, David Edevbie, revealed that the state government had finalized plans to sell off the IPP project to investors.

Though Edevbie failed to reveal why the state government had decided to sell off the over nine years old project, he said the previous administration began the move for the sale but could not get a buyer before the tenure expired.

Edevbie, who spoke in company of Commissioner for Energy, Newworld Safugha, Commissioner for Works, James Augoye and Commissioner for Information, Patrick Ukah, also did not reveal the cost of the project nor the price fixed by the state government but assured journalists that as soon as it is sold, it would be made known to the people of Delta State.

Meanwhile, unconfirmed sources close to the government has it that some government officials are allegedly bidding for the IPP project.