Enugu State Government will spend N4.5 billion to execute infrastructural projects in the 450 autonomous communities in the state, Commissioner for Information, Dr Godwin Udeuhele, said on Wednesday.
Briefing newsmen in Enugu on the outcome of the State Executive Council, Udeuhele said each of the communities would get N10 million worth projects.
The commissioner said that the move was to facilitate even development across communities in the state.
He said that the state government would immediately pay N5 million to all the autonomous communities for the execution of their choice projects.
Udeuhele said that the new projects were in addition to the 57 infrastructure development projects going on simultaneously in all the 17 local government areas of the state.
“The council approved a rolling plan of community development initiative of N10 million with an initial payment of N5 million that will start running this year to all the 450 autonomous communities.
“This is to enhance rural development and encourage community participation in infrastructural development. This is a new initiative of the state government.
“The first tranche will be paid this year and next year another will be paid. The primary purpose is to ensure that dividends of democracy touch all communities in the state.
“Each community will get their money and decide what they want to do with it,” he said.
Udeuhele said that the council also approved the release of N23. 6 million to Digital Security Technology for the building and installation of underground vandal proof battery cabinet.
The commissioner explained that the appliances were for street lights that were currently under attack by vandals.
He said that the state government had decided to install an 8metre high overhead vandal proof controller panel protection belt for the 34 street light stations in the state.
“An additional N45 million was also approved for the replacement of the 17 traffic light stations that were completely vandalized.
“The contractor will make a panel under the ground and get those batteries planted underneath, thereby, making it more difficult for intending vandals,” he said.
Udeuhele said that the council also approved the payment of additional N200 million being part of the debt owed the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC).
He said that the sum was in addition to the N100 million earlier paid to EEDC, adding that the EEDC was having issues with everybody and the state government were not an exception.
“This is a part payment for the settlement of government indebtedness to the company pending when the joint committee of the company and the government on reconciliation will submit their reports.
“Some government facilities were disconnected by EEDC for amount of money that was owed not only by this government but past governments.
“Now the government has agreed and released N300 million and there is a joint committee aimed at getting the actual amount the government owes the company,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the EEDC has alleged that the successive governments in the state owed the company more than N2.5 billion.
Some customers of the company had on Friday trooped to the streets and marched to the state assembly calling for the eviction of the EEDC over what they described as unsatisfactory services.
The state assembly same day had an emergency sitting over an alleged ineffectiveness of the EEDC in the state.