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Water reticulation: Ebonyi ready to compensate property owners

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ABAKALIKI –  The Ebonyi State government is ready to compensate individuals whose properties were demolished by the ongoing reticulation of water from the Oferekpe Mega-Water Scheme to Abakaliki.

Chief Ben Okah, the Commissioner for Public Utilities made the statement in Abakaliki on Saturday during activities to mark the 2014 `Water Week’ in the state.

He said that majority of those affected in the exercise were owners of properties on Akanu Ibiam round-about to the state Water Reservoir, a distance of six kilometres.

He said that owners of petrol filling stations, underground communication installations, private buildings and the building housing the Ministry of Land and Housing, had compiled their names for compensation.

Okah explained that the reticulation was delayed due to the terrain of the city and the complexities involved in laying pipes.

He said the project was expected to be completed in June.

“The reticulation contract was awarded to FAMES JS Construction Ltd in March 2011 at the cost of N8.9 billion and is expected to cover a transmission line of 52km.

“It is pertinent to note that the water scheme, awarded in 2008 to Gilmor Engineering Ltd at the cost of N7.6 billion, has attained 100 per cent completion,” he said.

The commissioner pointed out that government would complete work on the Ukawu Water Scheme before leaving office to dispel the notion that it had been abandoned.

“Funding is not the problem with acceleration of work at the scheme.

“The construction encountered problems which included flooding and the poor state of the access road in the area.

“The contractor handling the project has also not been fair by failing to meet with our agreement,’’ he said.

He added that efforts were being intensified to address all these grey areas and ensure smooth completion of the project.

Mr Osmond Igwe, General Manager, Ebonyi State Water Corporation, said that the Oferekpe Mega Water scheme in Ikwo LGA, would provide 100, 000 cubic litres of water per day to the public.

He made statement during the inspection of the project.

Mr Adedayo Mark-Adeyemi, Team Leader, Sustainable Water and Sanitation in Africa (SUWASA), urged the government and other stakeholders to ensure sustainability of the project.

“The government and private sector should collaborate in ensuring that the facility is well maintained, secure and managed to meet the needs of the people,’’ he said. (NAN)

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