Nigeria fast-tracks power projects in north to avert famine

Mambilla hydro power dam13 July 2014, Abuja – In order to avert an impending food crisis in the north-east, occasioned by prolonged insurgency in the zone, the federal government has ordered co-ordinated intervention programmes that would be implemented by a special committee already put in place by the president.

The group drew membership from serving ministers and ranking political officeholders from the zone.

The presidential effort is also tied to the ongoing fast-tracking of identified key power projects as catalyst for socio-economic emancipation, food security and poverty alleviation in the zone.

Minister of state for power Mohammed Wakil, who made the disclosure while receiving a delegation of the Economic Summit Group in Abuja, said that the 3050MW Mambilla Hydro Project which has been on the drawing board for decades without any meaningful sign of take-off, has received a whopping $7 billion

Similarly, Wakil said that the Kashimbilla Multi-purpose Dam in Taraba State will not only provide water for domestic purpose and irrigation, but the electricity component would also be activated to add 40MW to the national grid.

The minister, in a statement issued by his special assistant, media, Olawale Rasheed, in Abuja yesterday added that other transmission line projects are on course to evacuate power and enhance the quality of electricity supply in both Borno and Yobe states.

He urged the delegation led by the former director-general of PENCOM, Mr Mohammed Kabiru Ahmed, to in line with its mandate draw up a comprehensive recovery agenda that will provide workable solutions to issues that have been thrown up especially those that will help avert impending food crisis in the crisis region.

Wakil also disclosed that he met recently with the executive director of the United Nations Population (UNFPA) in New York who promised a scheduled visit to Nigeria with the sole aim of energizing the proposed social mitigation programmes for the zone.

Speaking on behalf of the delegation, Ahmed informed the minister that the group has submitted a preliminary report capturing findings on the field to President Goodluck Jonathan.

He said: “The report covered humanitarian activities, developmental priorities as well as extensive coverage of devastation and solutions to the insurgency in the zone.

“We may eventually have to hold a donor conference as the magnitude of funding needed to address the developmental challenges of the region cannot be provided by both the states and federal government alone.”
*Mohammed Ismail-Leadership

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