The Kashimbila multi-purpose dam project embarked upon by the Federal Government in Taraba State was designed to serve the purposes of power generation, drinking water supply and irrigation.
The multi-million naira dam which is expected to generate 40 megawatts of electricity and provide water to 40,000 people in addition to serving irrigation purposes, has been completed since 2019 but the delay in commissioning the project to serve the people is generating concerns from targeted benefitting communities and stakeholders in the state.
- Kashimbila power project ready for commissioning – minister
- Militia vandalise Kashimbila power transmission line
In August 2019, the Minister of Power, Sale Mamman, said the 40 megawatts Hydro Power Plant in Kashimbilla would be ready for commissioning in few weeks’ time.
The minister disclosed this after inspecting the project in Kashimbilla with the Minister of State for Power, Mr Godwin Jedi-Agba.
Mamman said the power plant will provide electricity to several communities and would boost power supply in the country.
“We are here to inspect and see the quality of work done on the project and I can tell you that I am very impressed.
“We are going back to sit down with the engineers, discuss, analyse and come out with a date.
“I can assure you that the commissioning will be done any moment from now because the project is ready,” he said.
The Project Manager, Mr Ali Abubakar said the hydropower component of the project was designed and upgraded from six megawatts to 40 megawatts.
Abubakar who is also the Deputy Director, Renewable and Rural Power Access Department, Ministry of Power said that “The dam is spilling very well and the turbines are ready to deliver 40 megawatts to the national grid.”
However, some members of host communities and the state government are worried that the project was yet to be inaugurated more than a year after it was completed.
A member of the host community of the project, Mallam Idi Ruwaya said communities in the Southern Taraba have been eagerly waiting to see the project commissioned to tap into the many benefits.
He said substations were built in Takum, Wukari and Donga and linked to the main station at Kashimbila but wondered why the station was not commissioned long after it was completed.
He said there is no single industry in the entire Southern Taraba that is functioning due to inadequate supply as a result of non connectivity to the national grid.
“Why should the government allow this good source of electricity to remain unutilized after it was completed when the area where it was sited need electricity supply”, he said.
He revealed that the power line that supply the area with electricity from Gboko was erected about 40 years ago and the line needed to be up graded to evacuate more energy.
Idi Ruwaya said the economy of the area and that of the state would be improved if the gigantic project is commissioned and put to use.
A farmer, Mr James Yakubu also commenting on non utilization of the dam project, said communities around the dam who are mainly farmers and fishermen want it to be commissioned so that they could benefit from it.
He said the irrigation facilities when put to use would benefit more farmers during wet and dry seasons.
He called on Governor Darius Ishaku to interface with the Federal Government to commission the project to boost socio-economic activities not only in Southern Taraba but the entire state and parts of neighbouring Benue State.
In the same vein, the Taraba State government has appealed to the Federal Government to commission the multi-purpose Kashimbila hydro power station in the state.
Taraba State Commissioner for Power, Dr Badina Garba, in an interview with Daily Trust said the project has been completed but was yet to be commissioned and therefore urged the Federal Ministry of Power to do all that was required on the project and commissions it without further delay.
The commissioner explained that from the briefs on the project and the recent visit by the Minister of Power, Sale Mamman, it showed that the project was completed.
He said the Kashimbila hydro power project has the capacity supply power to Taraba and parts of neighbouring Benue and Adamawa states when operational.
The commissioner stated that electricity supply to the southern part of Taraba where the project is sited was inadequate and therefore, the project if commissioned would boost power supply in the area.
According to him, Southern Taraba as well as Taraba central zone would witness industrialization and economic development when the power station is commissioned.
He also revealed that the irrigation system which is part of the components of the project would be utilized and create more job opportunities for the people and also boost food and cash crops production.
Dr Garba stated that about 8000 hectares of land was earmarked for irrigation under the project and it would not be put to use until the project is commissioned.
Daily Trust finding revealed that the hydro power dam initially designed to generate 6 megawatts of electricity was up graded to 40 mega watts capacity because of availability of Water all the year from the sources of river in the area.
All the 4 turbines of 10 mega watts capacity, it was learnt, were installed and tested but the 40 mega watts could not be released because of lack of evacuation line to feeds substations constructed at Takum, Donga and Wukari Local Government Areas.
Further investigation revealed that mounting of 132 Tower from the Dam to Yandev in Benue state was completed several months ago.
A source at the dam who would not like his name mentioned told Daily Trust that the 33 kv lines under the second phase of the project was expected to commence any time from now and upon completion, it will supply electricity to the entire southern Taraba.
The source said currently, the four turbines with 10 mega watts capacity was test ran some time ago but only one is switched at the time because of lack of evacuation lines.
The source further explained that as soon as the evaluation lines are constructed, Wukari,Ibbi, Takum and Donga and surrounding towns would be connected with electricity from the Kashimbila hydro power station.
Daily Trust gathered that from the looks of things, parts of Benue State may start enjoying power supply from the dam because of the 131 KV line from Kashimbila to Yandev which has been completed.
The source stated that there was also the need to connect the dam to Bali, Gembu, Gashaka and Baissa areas which would also later serve as corridor for evacuation of power from 3,050 mega watts Mambilla hydro power project located closed to the Kashimbilla hydro power dam.
Investigations also revealed that presently, only two towns in the entire Taraba central senatorial zone enjoy electricity from the national grid.
- ‘Kashimbilla power project’s commissioning’
When contacted, the Special Adviser on Media to the Minister of Power, Aaron Artimas, confirmed to our reporter that the project has been completed but some administrative procedures and few other factors delayed the commissioning as earlier hinted by the minister last year.
He said besides the issue of administrative procedures, the crisis that rocked southern part of Taraba where the project is located, affected the planned commissioning as some equipment were vandalized and needed to be fixed.
“It is being delayed by administrative procedure.
“The time that the minister went there, there were parts that were not neatly completed because, during the crisis in that axis, some of the equipment along Takum were tampered with but of course, it was tested all the way to Yandev.
“The transmission station inside Takum was tested and the light was there.
“All the transmission lines are ready; the generating equipment at the site are ready.
“The only thing is just the link from Wukari to Donga where there was little vandalism.
“The minister gave directive at that time that it should be sorted out. And as it is now, it has been sorted out.
“But then, the COVID-19 pandemic also affected the commissioning. That’s why; otherwise, as at last year, when the minister went to site with others, it should have been commissioned.
“All those crises and the COVID-19 affected it because it is a big project that requires the presence of government at the highest level to attend.
“But efforts are being made to commission it and that of Dadin-Kowa as well.
“We are looking at the possibility of having it done before the end of the year or early next year.
“This is for the ministry officials to plan,” he said.