By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—THE Senate was, yesterday, told that delay in payment of compensation and resettlement of host community, which led to blockage of access roads to the main dam site, quarries and borrow pit areas by the villagers around the $1.2 billion Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Project, has stalled the completion date by two years.
Disclosing this to the Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP, Abia South) led Senate Committee on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy during an oversight visit to the plant, the Project Director, Dr. Johnson Adewumi, noted that youths in the Zungeru area had lots of community action against the project in the past three years.
He also said incidents of armed robbery in 2016 and 2017 and kidnap of construction personnel also militated against the project.
In his remarks, Chairman of the committee, Senator Abaribe, who assured the Director and the Chinese expatriates that their fears concerning security had been addressed, with the project’s inclusion in 2017 budget, said the Senate would continuously liaise with all stakeholders to stop the disruption of operations in the site.
The project, which was flagged off in 2013 by former President Goodluck Jonathan, with a $1.2 billion loan from China Exim Bank, was originally scheduled for completion in 48 months, which should have terminated in December 2017.
The project is being handled by China National Electric Engineering Company Limited, Sinohydro Group Limited.
There are, however, assurances that power generation date will now be September 29, 2019, while lock gate and reservoir impounding would be carried out on October 1, 2018.
According to him, there are also cases of gun attacks by the local communities to extract compensations from the Federal Government.