The project which was conceived years back by Nasarawa state government is to help boost the energy need of the state and county in general. MOHAMMED YANGIDA reports.
The federal government on Saturday June 12 flagged off the construction for the completion of Farin-Ruwa Hydropower Multipurpose Dam in Wamba local government area of Nasarawa state with a completion period of 24 months.
The multipurpose project was originally initiated in 2003 and the contract awarded in 2004 by the first executive governor of the state, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, to generate 20, 000 megawatts of hydropower electricity to boost socio-economic development of the state.
By the time his administration ended in 2007, the overall execution of the project stood at 60% completion with a total expenditure of N5.8 billion.However the administration of Aliyu Akwai Doma who was the second executive governor of the state, was able to do the payment of compensation to the natives whose farmlands were affected.
He also terminated the partnership agreement with the original contractor and taken up fully by the defunct Nasarawa Energy Company (NEC) which is now Nasarawa Electricity Power Agency (NASEPA).
Umaru Al- Makura who was the thirth executive governor came with determination to complete the project but was stalled due to paucity of funds. saying that past efforts had not yielded much impact, with 60 per cent completion as at 2007.
November, 2018 Senator Umaru Al-Makura sought federal government intervention by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enable her take over and complete the project.
He pledged the commitment of the state government to keep to the agreement on profit sharing from accrued benefits when completed.
When Sule took over
On assumption of office therefore, Governor Abdullahi Sule when he was told that over N5bn was expended on the project, which was abandoned since 2007, with the facility mostly vandalized, promised that such amount of money, must not be allowed to waste.
He said, “When I was assuming office, the first thing that inched me was that I was told the sum of N5bn had been invested in this project and coming from Dangote, we don’t play around with money; so, I cannot sit down and hear that N5 billion had been invested and we allow it to waste.
“For a state like Nasarawa that does not get N5 bn a month as IGR as well as federal allocation even when the going was good, for us to allow that to waste is a major concern for some of us; that’s why I got up visiting them.”
He swung into action without further delay, paid a visit to the Federal Ministry of Water Resources to remind them of the agreement on Farin Ruwa project and the need to take over the project for socio economic development of the state and the country at large.
He therefore, constructed the 15.5 kilometres access road to ensure smooth take over of the project.
Engr Sule pointed out that even though the original concept by the first civilian governor of the state was to produce only 25 megawatts of power, his administration has a vision to upscale the project to 50 megawatts.
On June 3rd 2020, the federal government approved the sum of N8.1bn for the project. This was disclosed by the water resources minister, Adamu Suleiman Adamu.
One year after, specifically on June 12 2021, the federal government flagged off the construction of the completion of Farin Ruwa multipurpose Dam in Wamba local government of the state.
The governor specifically thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the acceptance to take over the dam project from the state government. He further commended Buhari for not hesitating to execute meaningful projects that would have impact on the lives of the people.
“The president wants to make impact. We want to copy from the president and make impact. We would make that impact with this project,” he stated.
Sule tabled more requests
At the event, Governor Sule further sought the assistance of the federal government to enable the state generate 50 megawatts of power from from the project.
He requested the Ministry of Water Resources to assist the state towards generating 25 megawatts at the table of the Farin Ruwa waterfalls and another 25 megawatts, at the Farin Ruwa Dam when completed.
According to the governor the entire Nasarawa state requires only about 10 megawatts of power, with the remaining 40 megawatts generated to be uploaded to the national grid to power the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).”10 megawatts is enough to power the entire Nasarawa state. You have 40 megawatts to go to Abuja,” Engineer Sule explained.
Sule who described the Farin Ruwa falls as one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world, said the minister would write his name in gold, if he carries out the project.
“As an Engineer, I can see that at the table of the falls, 25 megawatts can be easily generated. Then you have the dam. By the time the water floods and with 73 million litres of water, coupled with the depth of the dam, you can easily generate another 25 megawatts.
He said among the three former governors in the state, everyone in one way or the other had contributed to the success of the project.
“I appreciate my predecessors who are presently here, as well as a retired permanent secretary at the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Dr Musa for their contributions towards the actualisation of the project.
“It was the initiative of Senator Abdullahi Adamu with the willingness of Senator Umaru Al-Makura that made it possible for us to be here today,” Sule emphasised.
Engineer Sule specially appreciated the water resources minister, Engr Suleiman Adamu, for the various projects and support to the state.
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Minister thanked President Buhari
On his part, the minister explained that the implementation of the projects suffered setback due to paucity of funds.
He noted that, “In receipt of the state government request, solicited the intervention and take over by the federal government in order to actualise the project, the Federal Ministry of Water Resources wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari and he graciously approved the take over and completion of the project in October 19, 2018.
He further explained that the president had also approved the expansion of the project to include regional water scheme and construction of irrigation infrastructures of 2,000 hectares for dry season farming to serve the people of the area.
He lauded the state government for initiating the project and provision of necessary logistics for smooth takeover.
He also commended the governor for constructing the access road to the project that originally was supposed to be part of the items to be constructed by the federal government.
The minister however, assured the people of the state that the federal government would ensure that the project is completed within the stipulated period and according to contract specifications.
He equally emphasised that the Buhari-led administration would remain committed toward the provision of the needed infrastructures that would guarantee socio-economic development of the country.
Also, the first civilian governor of the state and initiator of the project, Senator Adamu, appreciated God, for the opportunity to witness the ceremony, which he said was becoming a reality.
Also, in a vote of thanks, the immediate past governor of the state, who approached the federal government to takeover the project, Senator Umaru Tanko Al-makura, appreciated all those who played key roles that led to the flagging off of the completion of the Farin Ruwa dam project.
Earlier, in a welcome address, state commissioner of agriculture and water resources, Prof Otaki Alanana, said the state government under the leadership of governor Sule, has pursued and implemented policies towards ensuring provision of critical inputs such as fertiliser and agro-chemicals, with water supply continuously receiving a boost.