The abandoned 60KW Solar Photovoltaic Interconnected Mini-Grid in Kuchi Kebba village, Lapai Local Government Area of Niger State has been commissioned two years after it was completed and test-run for two days.
This came a day after WikkiTimes reported how the project further dashed the hopes of villagers who were hopeful that the development would end their era of darkness.
Two weeks before the publication, WikkiTimes had contacted the former Minister of State for Power and Niger Delta State Affairs (Niger State), Hajiya Zainab Ibrahim Kuchi, who spearheaded the project in her village (Kuchi). Stunningly, she yelled at our reporter, saying he has no right to question her over the state of the project.
This was followed by an enquiry, yet she did not respond to it. Similarly, the contracting company, News Engineering Nigeria Limited, and the subcontracting company, A.Y Global Integrated Consultant Limited, were contacted.
While the latter explained it was not in the right position to comment on the situation, News Engineering Nigeria Limited, declined comments and also failed to acknowledge WikkiTimes’ enquiry.
A day after the publication, the former minister and the companies’ representatives alongside other dignitaries visited the village to commission the project.
Shockingly, the commissioning team were still at the scene of the ceremony when the just commissioned project ceased working. The companies’ engineers, however, explained that this resulted from a damaged panel in the control room. But they promised to fix it by next Monday.
“They have commissioned the project,” said Yunusa Danlade, one of the villagers who witnessed the commissioning. “It was powered for a few hours but collapsed again even before their departure.”
“It was later discovered that there was a wrong connection from a provision shop owned by one Igbo man, Chinwen,” Danlade added, saying the fault was identified by the committee set up by the village head to look after the facility.
“The contractors were aware of the fault and assured us of returning to fix it by Monday. So we are waiting and hoping they return soon,” Danlade told WikkiTimes.
Although, some parts of the village were not affected by the glitch, according to another villager who simply gave his name as Ayuba.
VILLAGERS TO PAY FOR SOLAR?
Speaking during the commissioning, the Managing Director, News Engineering Nigeria Limited, Nwaeze Lady Josephine and Engineer Yusuf who represented A.Y Global Integrated Consultant Limited, told the locals that the project is completed, adding they will be paying for its consumption on a monthly basis.
Danlade explained that each household has a meter which was distributed when the project was completed two years ago. “Our monthly payment, according to them, depends on how much we subscribe to the meter,” Danlade said.
When contacted, Engineer Yusuf told WikkiTimes the villagers would have to pay for their electricity consumption from the solar project. “The villagers are connected to the solar power which they have to pay for, following the commissioning,” he said.
But he refused to comment on the villagers’ claims that the solar developed fault again. According to Yusuf, the main contracting company should be able to the answer question. However, the contact line of the News Engineering Nigeria Limited was not reachable. As of press time, a text sent to the line had not been responded to.