30 May 2013, Abuja – The Federal Government has began the resettlement of communities to be affected by the construction of the 700 megawatts, mw, Zungeru Power station, Minister of State for Power, Hajia Zainab Kuchi, has said.
Disclosing this at the official ground-breaking ceremony of the project by President Goodluck Jonathan in Zungeru, Niger State, Kuchi said resettlement action plan and social mitigation efforts had earlier began ahead of the ground-breaking exercise.
She said the ministry has secured necessary funds for the resettlement of affected communities in line with international best practice.
According to the Minister, the project underscored government’s efforts at diversifying the national energy mix, which, as at 2012, was at a proportion of 70 per cent thermal and 30 per cent hydro.
Kuchi disclosed that the host communities to the project consist of 88 wards in Shiroro, Rafi and Wushishi local government areas of Niger State that will be positively impacted by the dam.
The project will, during and after completion, have the capacity to improve on the socio-economic lives of the people that reside in Zungeru and its adjoining towns and villages.
She listed the gains to be achieved through the creation of the project to include direct jobs such as fishing activities, farming through irrigation and animal husbandry.
“In addition the Zungeru Dam project will be capable of boosting tourism which is another source of foreign earnings to the nation. It will also create project construction job opportunities, including skills acquisition training for members of the host communities,” she said.
“The enterprising individuals both men and women will also be energised by this project because of the positive economic activities,” she further said.
According to her, the project will also create an opportunity to host a research centre, which will focus on the river Kaduna fauna and will ensure it breeds and flourishes.