$40m WEMABOD’s Ikeja effluent plant abandoned
Ten years after attempts were made to redesign, and reconstruct the 55-year old effluent plant in the Ikeja industrial complex, the project has remained in comatose.
The plant, situated within 3/9 Henry Carr Street in WEMABOD’s Ikeja industrial estate, the first industrial estate in Nigeria, was established to cater for sound environmental wastewater treatment.
At its inception in April 1965 by the former Premier of the Western region, late Chief Ladoke Akintola, only a cluster of industries were connected to the facility.
Known as the Trade Disposal plant then, the project became a shadow of its former self following increasing number of industries in the estate thereby unable to go beyond its 19,000 cubic metres capacity of industrial waste treatment daily.
A reconstruction move was made in 1978 with an effort, which lasted for 18 years leading to the plant’s re-commissioning on July 30, 1996 and renamed Ikeja industrial estate central sewage treatment plant by then Chief of General Staff, Lieutenant General Oladipo Diya (rtd).
However, the facility didn’t function for long, before it became inactive, due to inadequate provision for the type of effluent it was expected to receive from various industries located in the industrial estate.
Another attempt was made to rehabilitate the facility in 2003 under a Build, Operate and Transfer, (BOT) arrangement with the award of the project to Messrs Pamaque Nigeria Limited. The agreement worth about N400 million also hit the rock.
Similarly, a fresh deal involving a consortium-Macpresse Environmental Associate, Nigeria and Lemna International Inc., a United State based firm was struck for the project in 2007.
The firms were picked from a list of five engineering firms that bidded to rehabilitate the effluent plant at a cost of $40 million. The deal involves long-term agreement for 20 years with a moratorium of two years for the reconstruction and redesign work expected to last 25 years.
The deal entails a possible review at the end of five years, commencing after an estimated 18 months reconstruction period. Part of efforts at reviving the moribund facility was to source for fund from the U.S financial institution through three major Nigerian banks.
The former managing director, WEMABOD Estate Limited, Wahab Omotosho had stated that reactivating the project would enhance its operations, and service delivery capacities to industries as well as create job opportunities in the community.
But The Guardian investigation has revealed that the move to revive the project failed to produce any meaningful result over the years.
A visit to the area last week shows that the waste water plant site, which has been abandoned for over 10-years according to residents, is now outgrown by bushes.
Speaking with The Guardian, a machine operator close to the facility who pleaded anonymity said, “Some officials have been visiting the abandoned facility, inspecting it and leaving at various times. As nobody was using it; the plant has now been taken over by bushes”.
Efforts to get reactions from WEMABOD Director of Estates were unsuccessful as he declined comment on the development, stating that he was not authorised to do so.