State Commissioner for Energy, Francis Ikio and Special Adviser to the Governor on Power, Engineer Olice Kemenanabo, gave the administration’s position in a joint press statement issued Yenagoa.
Reacting to reports in some sections of the media, the duo blasted these as “a mockery of journalism” aimed at embarrassing President Goodluck Jonathan and abusing the collective sensibilities of the entire people of Bayelsa State.
“The publication is to say the least insulting and aimed at embarrassing the President in furtherance of the smear campaign orchestrated by a group of persons.
“Irrespective of the President coming from Bayelsa State, we are not fools in Bayelsa not to appreciate what we need and legitimately demand for it from the relevant Federal Government agencies to address our inadequacies especially as it affects the electricity infrastructure.”
They said the power needs of Bayelsa State, according to the last load study, indicated were above 250MW.
According to the statement, the funds in question were targeted at upgrading the existing 40MVA at Gbarantoru in Yenagoa Local Government Area to connect the entire State.
“Bayelsa State as you all know was created on the 1st of October 1996 and was depending on 2 x 20MW Gas Turbines in Kolo Creek which capacity was exceeded as far back as 2004 due to rapid load growth in the State capital alone.
“In 2006, when the national grid eventually came, we felt a temporary relief but in less than no time, the station could serve only parts of Yenagoa due to the capacity, which was not more than what we were generating from the power station,” the duo stated.
The statement further pointed out that the 40MVA Gbarantoru transmission station, the only such facility in the region, was inadequate and under stress arising from overload.
“The station is at the brink of collapse and if urgent steps are not taken to upgrade it, there is imminent total outage in the state.
“Therefore, if the Federal Ministry of Power in their wisdom is proposing the upgrade of the existing station to 90MVA, and a section of the media interprets it as the President seeking N1.8billion to fund ghost projects in his home state, is unfortunate.”
*Augustine Osayande, CajNews