Akinwunmi Ambode, the Lagos State governor, on Thursday commissioned an electrification project connecting 67 communities in Ibeju-Lekki area of the state,which had been in darkness for over five years, to the national grid.
Ambode, who commissioned the project amidst fanfare informed the residents of the readiness of his government to pay the electricity bill of residents until the installation of meters in all homes in the affected communities.
The governor said the project was another success story of the ‘Light Up Lagos Project’, an initiative of his administration.
The project, which is a key programme of the Ambode administration, was built on a tripod which included Community Electrification, Street Lightening and Power Advisory Committee made up of key stakeholders from the public and private sector.
The Advisory Committee, which was set up in December 2015 by the governor, is being chaired by the state Deputy Governor, Dr (Mrs.) Idiat Oluranti Adebule and its major role is to develop a roadmap to provide sustainable power supply to homes and businesses in Lagos in the medium to long term.
Ambode while speaking at the event, recalled that the attention of his administration was drawn to the plight of residents of Ibeju Lekki, Ise and Ode-Omi comprising 67 communities in Ibeju-Lekki Local Government and Lekki Local Council Development Area (LCDA) few months back to the fact that they had been without electricity for over five years.
He said: “After a due assessment of the situation, we commenced work last year October and we promised to ensure that these 68 communities are connected to the national grid.
“Today, we are delighted to say that these communities have been connected to the national grid.
“To make this project a reality, 33kv dedicated high-tension lines were laid from Ajah sub-station to Eleko junction and from there spread to 68 communities a high tension network covering 131.5 kilometers was rehabilitated and 86 transformers were installed at a total cost of N600million.
“Beyond fulfilling our promise to these 68 communities, we have also demonstrated our commitment to run an all-inclusive government which no one will be left behind.
“It is expected that the commissioning of this project will boost the socio-economic activities in this area after having suffered untold setback for over five years,” Governor Ambode said.
Ambode, who said he was fully aware that lack of access to electricity was not peculiar to the said 67 communities alone, disclosed that the state government, through the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, was currently attending to similar challenge involving 34 communities in Badagry.
He said before September of 2016, the communities would be connected to the national grid, adding, “As we do this, we shall continue with the street lightening of the Light Up Lagos Initiative. The vision is to ensure that we light up all major roads and border towns in the state.”
Ambode commended officials of the State Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, Light Up Lagos Power Advisory Committee and management of Eko Electricity Distribution Company for working tirelessly for the completion of the project.
He also reaffirmed the full commitment of his administration to the wellbeing of all Lagosians irrespective of their locations within the boundaries of the state.
Mr. Wale Oluwo, the Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, recalled that after residents of the 67 communities complained about their plight, Governor Ambode issued a directive for investigation, and that the result revealed that the Sub-station supplying electricity to the communities was vandalised which resulted in the power outage for about five years, until the intervention of the state government.
Oluwo said the state government was seriously committed to the sustainability of the Light Up Lagos Project and urged residents to take ownership of the electrification project and imbibe the culture of prompt payment of their electricity tariffs.
He said the next phase of the Light Up Lagos Project is to take electricity to public institutions such as water corporations, schools, hospitals among others.
Dr. Tola Kasali, one of the community leaders who responded on behalf of the residents, said the commissioning of the project confirmed Governor Ambode’s love and readiness to address the plight of the people.
“This is a typical example of a governor that listens; this is a typical example of a governor that cares; this is a typical example of a governor that reacts to the needs of the people,” Kasali said.
Charles Momoh, a representative of Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOS), said the commissioning was an eloquent confirmation of walking the talk, and expressed the readiness of DISCOS to partner with the state government and make the governor’s dream of lighting up every part of Lagos a reality.