An apex socio-cultural and pressure group in Ika land, known as Ika Elders Forum, whose members comprise great and respected men and women of Ika extraction who have distinguished themselves in various fields of human endeavour on Wednesday, 8th December, 2010, paid a fact finding visit to the management of Pivot Engineering Company Ltd at Berger Yard, Owa-Oyibu to seek an update on the step down project that is currently being constructed in Ika land.

The IEF which is concerned with the welfare of Ika people with particular reference to social services, amenities and infrastructural development/maintenance was led on the visit by its national leader, Hon Chief Justice S.A. Ehiwario.

Speaking to newsmen on the outcome of their visit and meeting with the management of Pivot Engineering, shortly after the meeting, the IEF deputy national leader and secretary-general, Elder John Ehikwe said that they were in the office of Pivot Engineering to know how far they have gone in remedying the electricity problem in Ika land and was told by the Project Manager, Building Service, Mr. Ian Marsh, that the Agbor 132/33kv Step Down project was awarded under lot 8 of the Independent Power Project which includes Benin, Agbor, Asaba and Nkalagu, saying that the management of Pivot Engineering on their own side is ready and hope to complete work on the 133/32 Step Down project by the middle of 2011, but that does not mean that the people of Ika land will start enjoying light immediately, as there is going to be a little delay because the generating plant which has 330kv in Benin, Edo State, meant to be handled by another engineering company has not started work and if they start, the contract is going to take eighteen to twenty-four months before it will be completed, if they are going to start work in January next year, it is going to take two or more years before the people of Ika land will start benefiting from it.

Elder Ehikwe further stated that Mr. Marsh, while appealing to Ika communities, whose power lines will pass through their areas through IEF, to co-operate and accept compensation by the company. He also appealed to IEF members to use their contacts in the presidency and power ministry to lobby so that work on the 330kv in Benin will commence quickly, just as he also suggested that Ika people should do something in the interim to get a dedicated line from Irrua to Agbor, which will not be tapped by anyone.

Elder Ehikwe posited that in response to what Mr. Marsh has said, the IEF appreciated the efforts by Pivot Engineering Company Ltd, for what they have done so far, and used the opportunity to appeal in advance to Ika communities that will be affected by the power line to accept compensation so that the project will be completed at the specified time, adding that IEF has started working towards the achievement of the interim dedicated line from Irrua to Agbor by begging all Ika sons and daughters in positions of influence to contribute towards the project, which if started will be executed between the space of three to six months, and will help boost electricity supply in Ika land before the completion of the IPP project.

It could be recalled that the Ika Elders Forum which has been at the fore front of the struggle for a better and developed Ika nation, has last week in a publication in Ika Weekly decried the poor level of electricity power supply to Ika area, particularly, Boji-Boji, metropolis, a reaction borne out of the several complaints IEF members received from individuals, corporate bodies, commercial/Industrial houses among others. This of course coupled with the forums concern for improved electricity in Ika nation neccessitated their visit to Pivot Engineering Company Ltd.

Present at the meeting were: Hon. Chief Justice S.A. Ehiwario, National Leader, Ika Elders Forum, Elder John Ehikwe, deputy national leader and secretary general, Chief Major F.N. Effam, Rtd, Chief G. Ikwu, Sir E.M. Uwadia, Hon Chief E.C. Nwaebo, Mr. Marsh, Project Manager, Building Service, Pivot Engineering Company Ltd, Timothy Oludamilola Oloyede, Manager, Land Survey, and Adio Adesanya , Deputy Manager, Quality Assurance.

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