Reps worry over $38.7bn abandoned power plant project in Delta, seek probe

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By Aaron Ossai

Worried by the abandoned second phase of the $38.7 billion Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited/Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) Joint Venture Okpai Independence Power Plant Project Okpai in Ndokwa East LGA of Delta State, the House of Representatives has called for probe.

It therefore mandated its Committee on Power to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the funding and contractors which includes the Nigerian Agip Oil Company and Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited, ascertain the impediments leading to the abandonment of the project, and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.

The resolutions followed the adoption of a motion sponsored Hon. Nnamdi Ezechi.

The House noted that the Okpai Independent Power Plant project, a joint venture between the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) and the Federal Government, received approval from the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) for the construction of phase two.

The House also noted that despite the substantial investment of $38.7 billion and the commencement of the second phase of the construction in November 2017, the project ended up being abandoned, resulting in the dilapidation of the critical Federal infrastructure.

The House said it was aware that the second phase of the project had reached approximately 90 percent completion prior to its abandonment by contractors Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited (SCNL) and Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC).

The House further noted that the project site is in a grave state of decay, with billions of Dollars’ worth of equipment and turbines unused, covered by grass, and taken over by shrubs.

The House was concerned that the abandonment of the Phase II project jeopardizes significant investments and furthermore hampers increase in electricity generation for the nation.

It was also concerned that there is ambiguity surrounding the project’s contract amount, casting doubt on accountability and transparency in its execution.

The House recognised the fact that the Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC) and Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited (SCNL) were involved in the award and execution of the project.

It was disturbed about the lack of advancement of the project and the need for government action to preserve this essential national resource.