By Tunde Oguntola |
The Federal Capital Territory, Abuja risk a possible outbreak of an epidemic, if the nation’s capital sewage treatment plant located at Wupa District is allowed to collapse, LEADERSHIP findings revealed.
However, 13 years after the establishment it is gathered that the plant has been running on generators since inception instead of Power Holding Distribution Company (PHCN) as the primary electricity source.
An official who was well briefed on the contract for the proposed dedicated 132/33KV Transmission Line questioned the rationale for spending billions of Naira on maintaining the generators on an annual basis when the government could have constructed the power line at a low cost and which would provide the plant sufficient electricity to perform at full installed capacity.
At inception, the plant was designed to treat the sewage from phases one, two, and three of the Federal Capital City (FCC).
The plant is also currently working at only about 25 percent installed capacity due mainly to inadequate power supply and low sewage inflow. At the moment, the treated water at the plant is injected into the river based on the hydropower capacity of the plant alone.
Investigations showed that the plant which was commissioned by the then President Olusegun Obasanjo, was constructed by SCC Nigeria Limited, was supposed to have a dedicated electricity transmission line to power the huge machines.
Also, investigations show that a lot of the sewage goes out of the trunk due to various forms of damage occasioned by collapsed manholes and construction activities, among others.
As a result, leakages on the sewage lines have become a common sight in Abuja. With predictions that the rains may come early this year, the city could face a fresh epidemic if the sewage lines and the dedicated electricity transmission line are not urgently fixed. Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Abuja have been rising. The wastes from the COVID-19 Isolation Centres are sent into the sewage, which would pose a greater threat to the health of residents.
Rather than spending such huge sums of money on the generators as sources of powering the plant, it was learnt that top officials of the Federal Capital Development Agency (FCDA) and their colleagues at the FCTS met and agreed to construct a new 132/33KV dedicated line from Kukwaba 231/33KV Transmission Station to the Sewage plant.
It was gathered that the procurement process for the contract for the construction of that dedicated line had been completed, with a Certificate of No Objection issued by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) dated June 13, 2019.
The BPP Reviewed Project Cost at that time was put at N1. 366 billion. An initial N200 million provision had even been made for the project in the 2018 budget of the FCTA because of the urgency that the administration attached to the project. However, the procurement process continued into 2019 before the Certificate of No Objection could be issued by the BPP.
Despite that, it was learnt that the memo for the contract has never been presented to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for approval because of “certain bureaucratic bottlenecks” in the FCTA.
In addition, it was learnt that an attempt was made by the FTC administration to include it in the 2020 budget but by the time the budget returned from the National Assembly, that project had a zero allocation, making it impossible for the Minister, Alh. Mohammed Bello to do anything on it.