By; SUNDAY ODE, Abuja
The Federal Government on Wednesday declared that the worst is over for flooding in the current raining season as the water level in River Niger and Lagdo Dam in Cameroon had significantly gone down by six centimetres.
Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu made the assertion at the Presidential Villa, Abuja while briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.
Adamu had last week allayed fears of Nigerians over the possibility of the rising water level in River Niger to worsen the recent flooding disaster in parts of the country.
According to him, the water level of River Niger as at last week was 11.9 meters as against the 12.4 metres that caused enormous flooding in 2012.
The minister also disclosed that the revised total estimated cost for the complete rehabilitation of Cham dam and development of 100 hectares of irrigation in Balanga Local Government of Gombe State was approved by council for N612m.
He said:/”Council today approved the revised total estimated cost for the complete rehabilitation of the Cham dam and development of 100 hectares of irrigation in Balanga local government of Gombe state. This is part of our efforts to complete projects we inherited which started in 2011 and suffered from supply of funds. Work stopped at about 65% completion, but we need to complete it so we renegotiated the project with the contractors. We therefore brought request for augmentation for N612m . The project is being handled by the Upper Benue River Basin Development Authority. It was originally constructed in 1982. It had to be reconstructed. The original contract cost was N832m in 2011.
“Secondly l was able to brief Council in the latest flood data. The water level in Lokoja had dropped by 6 centimeters and the water level in Lagdo dam in Cameroon is also going down. So, we think that the worst is over, unless if any unforeseen incidence occurs now. We should be able to see most of the flood waters go down from now on.”
Also Wednesday, FEC approved the sum of N959m for the maintenance of the newly acquired office by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Abuja and purchase of laptops and printers.
Of the sum, N459m would go for the laptops and printers while facility maintenance would gulp N500, according to the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu who also brief newsmen after the cabinet meeting.
“Amongst the approvals, three went to the EFCC. EFCC received approvals for facility maintenance service for their newly acquired 10 story building. They got N500m for upkeep and maintenance if the place. They also got approval for procurement of 700 computers, 100 lap tops and 25 laser printers at about N459m,” he said.
The presidential aide also said council approved the purchase of 15 utility vehicles for the anti corruption agency to be procured from local assembly plants.
“FEC also approved 5 water patrol boats for the Nigerian Ports Authority, Marina, Lagos. This is for coastline security,” Shehu added.
On his part, Ibe Kachikwu, Minister of State, Petroleum Resources disclosed that an approval of $64m was also given by FEC to provide electricity for contiguous communities around the Escravos areas.
According to him, the project was to appease the communities which had protested over the attempts by the NNPC to do the Escravos to Lagos Pipeline system that would move 50% of the gas to provide power in other places while leaving them in darkness.
Kachikwu said: “What we took to the Council today was to seek approval for the award of contract for supply of power to the contiguous communities around the Escravos areas. We had approvals earlier to do the Escravos to Lagos Pipeline system. It was then stalled following protest by the community over the plan to move 50% of the gas to provide power to other areas when the communities did not have power. Today, Council approved $64m to fund two lots. One to build the power plant to supply power itself and the other distribute the power to all the affected communities.
“Council granted approval in two lots. With this, we believe power will now be provided for the communities within four or five years and become a permanent structure. The only way we had been able to maintain peace in the communities was to use generators to supply power which had been costing NNPC about N18m every month to manage.”