Friday, 28 October 2016

Benue Senators Call for Inclusion of Benue in Hydroelectric Development Commission

As the Bill for an Act to amend the Hydroelectric Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPPADEC) passes second reading at the Senate, 2 Benue Lawmakers, Senators Barnabas Gemade and George Akume have made strong case for Benue State to be included in the HYPPADEC commission.

While contributing to the debate on Wednesday, Senator Akume (Benue North West) said apart from being the food basket of the nation, Benue State had also been a great source of hydroelectric power to some surrounding states.

He, however, said the same Benue State had in the recent past been ravaged by some natural disasters and that as such needed to benefit from the parliatives that would accrue to the member states, if the bill was eventually passed.

On his part, Senator Gemade (Benue North East) reminded the Senate that Benue and Taraba States were included in the amended Bill during the seventh Senate and urged his colleagues to support it.

“The HYPPADEC commission was approved by the 6th Senate and in the 7th Senate we amended the Act to include states that were originally not included, like Benue, Taraba and other states, because of the effects of hydroelectric projects in those areas.

“The attempt was however not conclusive because the Act’s amendment was not finally consumated for President’s assent.

“What is proper now is for the 8th Senate to incorporate the amendment that was made in the 7th Senate to include the states that were left out.

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“Benue particularly is most affected here, the effects of most of the hydro plants on Benue are very high because the flooding that took place in some of these dams gave way to excess water.

“More so, more dams are being built, like the hydro plant in Kashingbila, the border between Taraba and Benue State (Kwande LGA); it is affecting our own area, especially, my constituency.

“There is already a hydro plant in Katsina-Ala river, also another one in Benue River at Abinchi, all these are projects in the pipeline which have effects on the environment.

“There is also Lake Nyon in the border between Benue State and Republic of Cameron which is a potential hydro plant area. It is a very dangerous dam because it overflows most of the time and it has potentials to break through and flood the state.

“With this, we are convinced that Benue State is more than qualified to be a member of the HYPPADEC commission. It is already there, we are only trying to perfect it with that amendment”, Gemade explained.

The HYPPADEC Amendment Bill which is being sponsored by Senator David Umaru (Niger East), was read on the floor of the Senate for the first time on the 20th October 2015.

The Bill seeks among other things, to amend section 14 of the Principal Act which deals with the funds of the commission.

The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu therefore referred the Bill to the Committee on Power and Steel Development, and report back to the Senate within 4 weeks.

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