A man walks past electricity pylons as he returns from work in Soweto, outside JohannesburgThe Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, on Thursday in Benin said the Federal Government has released N1.3 billion for the payment of compensation delaying the completion of the 330KV single circuit transmission line 2nd Benin-Onitsha project.

TCN Representative, Mrs Josephine Madu, made the disclosure during the inspection tour of members of the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) of federal government projects in the South- South zone.

She said that the issue of compensation to owners of houses and farmlands whose property were on the right of way had been a challenge to the completion of the project which was awarded in 2008 but commenced in 2009.

Madu explained that “the would-beneficiaries are restive over the delay in the payent of the compensation and we could not continue with the work especially with the laying of the foundation towers in Benin .

“But I can confirm that government has released the sum of N1.3 billion for the payment of these compensations.”

She, however, said that the project completion date of March 2014 might not be feasible because “even after payment, the beneficiaries would still require time to relocate and that in itself is a challenge to meeting the completion date.

The leader of the FRC inspection team, Mr Alex Ehikwe, said they were in Benin   as part of the commission’s mandate   to verify the claims submitted by companies and agencies handling government projects to the budget office.

Ehikwe, an assistant director, said “our mission is that of fact finding and verification of claims by the different agencies handling projects for the government.”

He said that the commission was pleased with the level of job done in the places so far visited which include Port-Harcourt, Calabar, Bayelsa and Benin among others.

“But our observations, and recommendation would be contained in our report to the Presidency, the Senate and other concerned government agencies,” he said.