|Credit: NTA Babatunde Fashola on the inspection tour at Kashimbila Multipurpose Dam Project in Taraba State|
The Minister of Power, Works, and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, visited the Kashimbila Multipurpose Dam Project in Taraba State.
He assured that when the dam project is completed, it would serve multiple purpose of protecting parts of the country from a predicted ecological disaster, provide electricity and support agricultural ventures in surrounding States of the Northeast.
According to him, the project was conceived about 2007, pointed out that the purpose was 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, which would likely affect six states in the country.
Fashola named the states to include Taraba, Benue, Cross River, Delta and Kogi on the route of the tributaries of the Katsina-Ala River, added that the project was also conceived to provide electricity and support agricultural ventures in the surrounding communities.
The minister told the newsmen, “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 force of energy, we decided to build a 40 MW 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 what the communities have presently is a 33KV line that transmits energy across 80, 90 to 100 and above kilometers adding that by the time the energy ultimately gets to the communities, it is not effective resulting in what is often referred to as “low current.”
However, he regretted that the contracting firm has not been paid for about two or three years adding that the project had just been put into the budget.
He added, “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.”
Emphasizing the benefits of the project to agricultural ventures in the host state and beyond, he described Kashimbila, as one of the most beautiful parts of Nigeria, added, “I have just come from Ecuador which is about 2,800 meters above sea level. I think this is about 500 to 800 meters in altitude. What you have here are mountains, rivers, and a very rich resource agro-base”.
On the progress of work at the project, Fashola said all the turbines and the electrical parts were already in place adding, “In fact, they have been maintaining it for two years to make sure nothing goes wrong”. He said as part of their strategy to protect the equipment, the contractors keep cats in the facility to prevent rats from eating the cables.
According to him, the contractors have over 300 kilometers of cables laid in the facility and there are equipment in containers in the premises to be used to complete the transmission adding that the containers also have the transformers and water treatment facilities.
He said, “We hope that by the latter part of next year the water part will be completed.”
The Minister said the transmission tower also visited during the inspection, would lead all the way to Takum and beyond adding, “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”, he said.
The Multipurpose Dam, located on River Katsina-Ala in Takum Local Government Area of Taraba State, aside serving as buffer dam, will provide, through its hydropower component 40 Megawatts of electricity to be evacuated from Kashimbila by 132KV Double Circuit through Takum(65km), Wukari (75km) to Yandev (105 km) existing 132/33KV substations.