The Senate has mandated its Committee on Legislative Compliance to investigate reasons for delay in the take off of Hydro Electric Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPADEC), nine years since the act was passed into law.
The committee is to also investigate the utililisation or otherwise of the total sum of N612, 177, 269 appropriated so far to the commission and report back to the Senate in four weeks.
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These resolutions were sequel to a motion sponsored by Sen. Muhammad Enagi (APC-Niger South) during Thursday’s plenary.
The motion was on the need to address the non take off of the commission, nine years after the Act setting it up was passage into law.
The upper chamber also urged the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency constitute the Commission and make funds available for it in the 2020 budget.
Moving the motion, Enagi noted that the Act that established the commission charged it with the responsibility of managing ecological problems due to operation of dams and other hydroelectric power activities in the power producing areas.
“It also establishes the Governing Council of the Commission, the Management, Advisory and Monitoring Committees for efficient discharge of the functions of the commission.
“The act establishing the commission was passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the 7th Assembly on May 25 and June 3, 2010.
“It was finally signed into law by the then President Goodluck Jonathan on Aug. 10, 2010.”
Enagi further lamented that nine years after the passage of the act establishing the commission, it was yet to take off.
The lawmaker recalled that N354.57 million, N247.5 million and N10.1 million were appropriated in 2011, 2014 and 2015 for the commission.
Contributing, Sen. Musa Sani (APC-Niger East) said that there had been serious issues of flood recorded in those communities during the course of the year which had caused serious damages, destructions and displacement of many people.
“People have been living in fear due to lack of necessary facilities that could take care of the frequent flooding whenever there was overflow from the dam especially during the raining season.
“Former President Jonathan had signed this bill. Money had been appropriated, this money is domiciled somewhere,” he said.
He called on the Federal Government to ensure the take off of HYPADEC and to fund the commission.
Senate Minority Leader Sen. Eyinnaya Abaribe also supported the motion as former chairman senate committee on power.
“We made sure that the impediments to the operation of HYPADEC which was the fact that the act that set the commission up had proposed that they should deduct 30 per cent from the operational capital of the hydro electric companies.
“It was too much. We reduced it to 10 per cent and we assumed that after it was reduced and was signed by the former President that the agency would have taken off.
“We are surprised that it has not taken off up till date.
“We must have to find out why there is this attitude of ignoring something that had been passed by law in this chamber according to what we agreed with the Federal Government,” Abaribe said.
In his remark, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan referred the motion to the Committee on Legislative Compliance for further legislative action.
“For our system to work, we will still allow our committee on legislative compliance to undertake the investigation because we need to establish what happened.
“The committee on compliance, I’m sure this will be your first test and you will have a lot of engagement with the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation because most of these things take off or don’t take off from there.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the HYPADEC benefiting states include Niger, Kogi, Kwara and Kebbi.