Communities in Ondo South Senatorial District that have been in darkness for the past 14 years would be linked to electricity again by December, 2021, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has assured.
The minister broke the cheering news on Thursday when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs to defend his ministry’s 2022 budget proposal.
Akpabio’s assurance was sequel to an appeal made by a Senator from the affected communities, Nicholas Tofowomo, who described the blackout in the senatorial district for 14 years as “embarrassing and despicable”.
The Senator lamented that several communities in Okitipupa, Ilaje, Ese-Odo, Irele and Odigbo Local Government Areas of Ondo State, have been in “uninterrupted darkness” in the last 14 years following the neglect.
He said: “The unfortunate situation in my senatorial district in Ondo State where 90 percent of my people have been deprived of electricity power supply since 2007 which is about 14 years of uninterrupted darkness called for serious concern.
“The situation is embarrassing and despicable because I continue to wonder if Ondo South is part of Nigeria because suffering from electricity blackout for about 14 years has grounded many economic activities in the district.”
Responding, the Minister assured that electricity supply would be restored in Ondo South by December this year.
According to him: “A lot of efforts have been made in that regard and I can assure you that the electricity supply will be restored by the end of this year and the people will be happy about it.”
On the 2022 budget proposal for the ministry, Akpabio said a total of N28.1 billion was proposed for the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs of which N1.69 billion is for Personnel cost, N877 million for Overhead cost while a total of N25.5 billion is earmarked for Capital expenditure.
He emphasised that the fund allocated for capital was grossly inadequate in view of several projects begging for attention in the Niger Delta Region and therefore urged the committee to jerk up the capital allocation to enable the ministry sustain the peace.
In his comment, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, assured the Minister and his team that the committee will liaise with the leadership of the Senate on the need to provide adequate funds for the Ministry in view of the economic importance of the Niger Delta region to the country.