Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State has pledged to set up an industrial park in Dadinkowa, after inspecting the Hydropower Plant, which has been completed and ready for commissioning.
Governor Yahaya said the industrial park would enable the state utilise the available power, so as to attract multiple industries in the area, when the power project, which is now one hundred per cent completed, was commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We can have a cluster of multiple industries that are agriculturally tied so that we can add along the value chain to utilise, from production, to processing and marketing. Our people should benefit from the presence of this project and all the other projects here, especially the irrigation aspect, which the Managing Director of the Upper Benue River Basin has already briefed us about. Close to 3 thousand hectares or even more is going to be irrigated soon. And that will add a lot, especially for our farmers to produce, because the food security that we need is definitely paramount and we shall and I think we shall attain it, once we put our lands to use” said Governor Yahaya.
For the Managing Director of Upper Benue River Basin Authority, Mr. Abubakar Mu’azu, the Dadinkowa Dam is the 4th largest dam in the country, after Ka’inji, Jebba and Shiroro dams and was impounded since 1987, but that its utilisation was nearly zero.
Mr. Abubakar is now grateful that the power project has finally been completed and hoped to start functioning by the first quarter of 2020, while the irrigation component of the project would now be awarded by the end of December for a pilot scheme of 3 thousand hectares by the World Bank.
He said the three thousand hectares was only 10% of the potential for the irrigation.
The Managing Director of the Upper Benue River Basin Authorities said the overall concept of the project was multipurpose, including tourism, flood control and river flow irrigation.
“So, if the irrigation component can be completed up to 30 thousand hectares, we can produce up to 200 thousand metric tons of grains for Nigeria. And apart from that, fisheries, is also another aspect that has not been exploited. We can produce fish up to 20 thousand metric tons per annum, and then the Gombe State Water supply. The dam has been providing raw water to the Gombe State Water Board since 2007,” Mr. Abubakar said.
He said if and when the projects tied to the dam functioned and were utilised at 100% capacity, it could generate up to 10 billion naira in revenue to the Federal Government per annum.
“The benefit is that consumers will get electricity through the national Grid, while the River Basin will be generating revenue through every drop of water the power company is using, they have to pay for it. And the infrastructure belongs to the Federal Government. So, the facility was concessioned to private developers that is the aspect of public-private-partnership. The Federal Government cannot do the power on its own, but can concession it to private developer for a period of 25 years. After 25years, when they recover their investment, it will come back to the ownership of the Federal Government, but we can still sign operation and maintenance contract with them,” Mr. Abubakar said.