By Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola has said the Kashimbila Multipurpose Dam project in Taraba State will provide 40 megawatts (MW) of electricity, protect states around it from a predicted ecological disaster, and support agricultural ventures when completed.
He also inspected the Gurara hydro power plant which would add 30 megawatts of electricity in continuation of the incremental plan towards getting the country to generate.
According to a statement from his senior special adviser on communications, Mr. Hakeem Bello on Friday in Abuja, Fashola said these when he visited the project sites on Thursday.
He said the projects were conceived as a proactive step by Nigeria to prevent an ecological disaster that science predicted would happen in future when the structurally weak volcanic Lake Nyos inevitably collapses and likely affect six states in the country.
He listed the states to include Taraba, Benue, Cross River, Delta and Kogi on the route of the tributaries of the Katsina-Ala River, and explained that the project was also conceived to provide electricity and support agricultural ventures in the surrounding communities.
“Nigeria has decided since 2007 or thereabouts to intervene and prevent the disaster by building a dam and from the dam you have water which is a source of energy, we decided to build a 40MW plant to generate electricity to feed communities like Doga, Wukari, Takum, Kashimbila and many other communities in the Northeast and Yandev in Benue State who are not yet connected to the grid,” he said.
The minister explained that what the communities had presently was a 33KV line that transmits energy across 100 kilometres, and that by the time the energy ultimately gets to the communities, would have lost its potency.
He assured that the project would solve all of the problems, but regretted that the contracting firm had not been paid for about two or three years.
“We have approved payment for the contractor and I have now come to see what we are paying for to ensure that the project is delivered.
“This project has three phases and three objectives to accomplish. First to prevent an ecological disaster that science predicts will happen and secondly from there provide electricity and support agriculture.
“This is the Kashimbila 40MW multipurpose dam for electricity and irrigation. But as I’ve said it was an ecological necessity,” he added.
He said on the status of the project that all the turbines and the electrical parts were already in place.
“In fact they have been maintaining it for two years to make sure nothing goes wrong.
“President Buhari is determined that this project will be finished in record time and it will serve all of its purposes; protect them from flooding because that flooding will happen when lake Nyos ultimately collapses, give them electricity and support their agricultural endeavours and give them clean water,” he explained.
He further stated: “We hope that by the latter part of next year the water part will be completed.
“They have started trenching and the last part of their equipment will come in before the end of this year. When they come in we can then start realigning the project plan and we will be more definite about month.
“But a lot of progress will be made between now and early 2018 latest by 2018 this project would have achieved all of its objectives: protection, energy, agric and water supply.”
According to the statement, the Dam is located on River Katsina-Ala in Takum Local Government Area of Taraba State, and will provide, through its hydro power component 40MW of electricity to be evacuated from Kashimbila by 132KV Double Circuit through Takum (65km), Wukari (75km) to Yandev (105 km) existing 132/33KV substations.