The multi-billion naira Independent Power Plant (IPP) project in Kano State, which was said to have reached 95 per cent completion in July, 2020 and scheduled to be commissioned in October of the same year, is yet to see the light of the day, Daily Trust reports.
The nine-year uncompleted project, located at the Tiga hydroelectric power plant station, was designed to generate an estimated 7.2 megawatts of electricity for Kano State and was expected to provide job opportunities for youths, renewable energy, enhance power generation from hydro plants, as well as help to have an independent electric power plant to boost small scale businesses in the commercial city.
It was gathered that the idea of the Tiga Independent Power Plant project, which is now being developed by the Kano Hydro and Energy Development Company (KHEDCO), owned by the state goverment, was conceived in 2002 during the first tenure of former Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso. The idea was revived during his second tenure in 2013, along with another independent power projects situated at the Challawa Gorge Dam. Both were initially expected to generate 35 megawatts of electricity at the cost of N14billion.
However, the Ganduje-led administration was said to have reviewed the proposed megawatts from 35 to 13.2 for the two independent power plants at Tiga and Challawa dams following pressure from the World Bank to save the federal government’s irrigation projects at the dams.
It could be recalled that these were the same projects celebrated to have been fully financed without obtaining any loan during the former administration of Kwankwaso, who made it public during the foundation laying of the power plants project to be executed by a subsidiary of Skipper Group of India-Skipper Transmission and Distribution.
However, in 2017, Governor Ganduje announced that the state government had to take a N10b soft loan from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to enable it complete the projects as planned to be delivered in September 2017. Yet it was not completed.
In May 2018, during a briefing to mark the 2018 Democracy Day, Governor Ganduje promised to commission the two independent power plants project in October 2018, yet it was not commissioned. In that same October 2018, Ganduje gave the assurance that the ongoing power plant project being executed at the Tiga dam would soon be completed by the end of November that same year. Yet, it was not completed.
Similarly, in October 2019, Governor Ganduje said his administration, in its efforts to take care of the industrial sector of the state, was working tirelessly to secure permission for the use of Tiga mam from the Federal Ministry of Water Resources before the project can be completed.
“We are about to get that permission from the federal government. We are in touch with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, so very soon this project will see the light of the day,” Ganduje had said.
In October 2020, the KHEDCO announced that the construction work on the 7.2 megawatts Tiga Hydroelectric Power Station had reached 95 per cent completion.
The company added that the project would be completed in December 2020, saying it had already obtained generation/transmission license for the Tiga 7.2 megawatts project. However, months after, the project has remained uncompleted and far from being commissioned.
When Daily Trust visited the site, it was observed that some of the equipment had started decaying, with some of them already covered by grasses and cobwebs.
Also, no worker was seen on site to indicate that work was in progress.
Our correspondent gathered from individuals around the area that there has not been any work on the site for quite a long time. It was observed that the poles meant to channel the power supply have not been wired.
“I don’t think this project will be commissioned anytime soon, perhaps not in our generation. They have made such promise several times, yet it has not been commissioned. And looking at the situation of the project, one cannot believe that it would be commissioned soon,” a security guard around the area, who declined to be named, said.
But the managing director of the KHEDCO, Hajiya Hadiza Ahmed Tukur, had last year said they were optimistic that the project would be commissioned in June.
In an earlier interview with Daily Trust to find out what stopped the completion of the project in December last year, the KHEDCO boss said, “The delay was as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which had posed challenges in the importation of conductors and panels from India. But some of them have arrived and we are still working to import the remaining.”
Meanwhile, some of the people who could have benefitted from this multi-billion naira power plant have continued to lament the delay in completing the project, saying it has shattered their hope of having improved electricity in the state to boost their businesses and provide more job opportunities for the youth.
Abdu Saleh, a small scale business owner said, “We are finding it more difficult to operate our businesses, especially in rural areas because there is inadequate electricity. For years, we have been hoping to see the completion of this project, but it seems it would not be completed in our time.
“We started so many businesses but they all collapsed due to inadequate electricity supply.”
Some small scale business owners like Abdu are, however, still optimistic that the project would soon be completed as promised by KHEDCO.