Imo State Government has revealed that it foiled an attempt by some Indian contractors to cannibalise and cart away transformers meant for boosting power in the state.
This was disclosed in a statement issued, yesterday, by Oguwike Nawachukwu, Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser to Governor Hope Uzodimma.
“Attempt by contractors claiming to have the approval of management of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) to remove transformers meant for electricity projects in Imo State has been foiled by the government.
“Governor Uzodimma got intelligence report that some Indian contractors, in collaboration with others, went to the Egbu Transmission claiming to have approval of the NDPHC to dismantle the 2×150mva and 2×60mva transformers meant for the ongoing Transmission Project Yard in Egbu and move them to Lagos,” the statement reads.
The statement explained that it was believed in some quarters that the contractors, that included Indians, must have come with the intention to steal the facilities, but only dropped NDPHC management’s name to get away with their ploy.
He said Uzodimma quickly mobilised relevant government and security officials to ascertain the authenticity of the visit and claim, but was shocked to discover that the NDPHC contractors could not show any evidence to authenticate their mission.
“On further interrogation, it was also discovered that they had no documentation to their claim, a situation that further raised doubts on their intentions,” the statement added.
The statement revealed that the contractors sneaked into the state, adding: “Worse was that the contractors secretly contacted some youths in Egbu, promising them tips to enable them move the equipment and cover up their tracks.
“It was at this stage that the ploy leaked and when the men were accosted, it became apparent that they were not genuine.”
Uzodimma further explained that former President Goodluck Jonathan awarded the Egbu Transmission Project Yard in 2010 and the equipment were supplied, accordingly. Work was almost completed but for the arrival of 330kv line from Alaoji to Owerri and Onitsha.
“Incidentally, the 330kv line project has just been jointly awarded by the African Development Bank and Transmission Company of Nigeria (AfDB/TCN) meaning that any interruption of equipment in the project will bring the entire Imo State to a long period of darkness and consequently, economic retardation,” he added.
He said the attempt looked like sabotage, stressing: “My administration is, therefore, not taking lightly what looks like a properly sabotage and we are awaiting the outcome of the interrogation of the purported NDPHC contractors by security agencies before taking further action.”