Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) has asked State governments in Nigeria to show more commitment and partner with it to make the most of their vast rivers and streams to generate hydro power for their use.
According to the officer in charge of UNIDO Regional Office in Nigeria, Dr. Chuma Ezedinma, who spoke during a one-day seminar in Abuja on small hydro power development in Nigeria, the states can leverage on UNIDO’s Small Hydro Power Project in Nigeria to accomplish this.
Ezedinma explained that the project was part of UNIDO’s wider renewable and rural energy effort which seeks to promote inclusive and sustainable industrial development across the globe.
He said under the framework, clean and sustainable energy was an integral part of UNIDO’s overall mandate to support efforts at scaling up productive and shared prosperity.
According to him, the seminar which UNIDO organised in collaboration with Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) and the Ministry of Environment would seek to identify small hydro power developers and investors that can work with UNIDO to develop potential small hydro projects sites in Nigeria.
Ezedinwa stressed that a major challenge with the project in Nigeria was how to get stakeholders, especially states and local government authorities to be active partners in the development of hydro power projects.
He said: “There is the challenge on how to get States and local government areas to understand that the rivers and streams around them are assets that can be converted to power.
“We have to come together and find a way to boost our power generation which is currently less than 4,000 megawatts (MW). We must utilise every available resource to generate power. We will like to see strong financial commitment from the States to develop small hydros, everything can’t be done by the international community,” he said.
Ezedinma noted that UNIDO have studies of over 200 sites that can be harnessed into small hydro plants which he added are capable of generating about 3.1MW.
He emphasised the need for all stakeholders to commit to the project, just as the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, Rabi Jimeta, maintained in her remarks that the dream of industrialising Nigeria cannot be realised without first developing the power sector
Jimeta said a functional power sector would in turn help develop rural economy through agro allied industrialisation and ultimately reduce the poverty level of over 70 per cent of Nigerians residing in the rural area.
Represented by the Deputy Director, Dams, John Ochigbo, the permanent secretary stated: “There is the need for us to emulate the laudable example of other countries by developing the small hydro power potentials of the vast network of our rivers to boost power supply and local industrialisation.”
While commending the support of UNIDO, she however, maintained that the ministry in collaboration with the ministry of power have completed 10 hydropower dams of about 44MW, four medium hydro plants with installed generation capacity of 124MW, while 12 other small hydro dams are at various stages of completion.