Fact-Check: Did Nigeria Commission Phase I of Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Station?
Claim: There was a claim that the federal government had commissioned the first of the four units at the 700MW Zungeru hydroelectric power station.
Many people doubt the credibility of the information when the Personal Assistant to President Buhari on Digital/New Media, Bashir Ahmad posted on his Facebook wall, that the federal government had on March 28, 2022 commissioned phase one of the Zungeru hydroelectric power station in Niger State.
This is not surprising because the presidential aide was the same person who had previously in 2021 claimed that the Mambila hydropower station was completed by the government and is fully operational. However, the claim was later found out to be a blatant lie.
Ahmad had on Wednesday, March 13, 2022, wrote on his Facebook wall saying; “On March 28, 2022, the first of four units at the 700MW Zungeru Hydropower Station-Nigeria’s newest power plant (90% completed), and the country’s largest was commissioned. Officially, it has started generating electricity.”
About Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Station
The Zungeru hydroelectric power station project was awarded by the ex-president Goodluck Jonathan-led administration in 2013 at the sum of $1.3billion. The plant is expected to provide 700MW capacity of electricity when fully completed. Zungeru will be the second-largest hydroelectric scheme in Nigeria after Kainji hydropower station that provides 760MW electricity which was commissioned on April 13, 1985.
The Chinese company in charge of setting up the hydroelectric scheme says its power plant will be commissioned in four phases during 2022, with each phase producing 175MW electricity.
The Zungeru Dam, where the electric plant is being built, is connected across the Kaduna River, in Northwestern Nigeria, near a town called Zungeru. Initially, the project was expected to be fully delivered within 60 months. However, several charges were made against the project thus slowing it down. When ready, it’ll generate 700 megawatts of electricity. As a result, access to electricity will be available to more residents around the region.
Sinohydro company is building the Zungeru dam and hydropower plant in a consortium with its compatriot China National Electric Engineering Company (CNEEC). The two companies built a roller-compacted concrete dam on the Kaduna River, a tributary of the Niger River. The dam has a depth of 101 m (331ft) and a length of 233 m (764ft), forming a reservoir capable of storing 10.4 billion m3 of water. The plant’s four turbines will inject 2.64 billion kWh per year into Nigeria’s national power grid.
But the construction of the facility has displaced 500 people, whom the federal government has promised to relocate to New Gungu, Wushishi. The Federal Government of Nigeria financed 75% of the work through a preferential loan from Exim Bank of China. The new facility is expected to meet 10% of Nigeria’s electricity needs according to the federal government.
Similarly, the official Facebook page of the Minister of Power, Engineer Abubakar D. Aliyu, FNSE has confirmed the development in which some photos and videos from the inauguration ceremony were posted.
The commissioning was done by the Minister of State for Power, Goddy Jedy-Agba alongside Niger State governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, who was represented by his deputy Alhaji Ahmad Ketso in Wushishi area of Niger state.
He said the project on completion this year would produce 2,630 Gigawatts-Hours (GWh) of electricity annually.
“It is my pleasure to address you all for the achievement of this significant milestone in the generation of clean renewable electricity from the 700MW Zungeru hydro-electric power project for the benefit of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The implementation of the Zungeru hydro-electric power project which commenced in 2013 and the pre-commissioning exercise of the first turbine generator unit being witnessed today marks a step in reinforcing the economic stimulation objective of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration,” he said.
The Minister said that during the peak of the construction phase, over 5,000 workers were engaged with more preference for locally sourced materials.
He said that when fully operational, over 300 key and highly skilled professionals would be fully engaged to run the facility.
Agba stated the economic benefits of the project for the people of Niger State to include: Water Supply Schemes for Community Use, Dry Season Farming and Irrigation, Flood Control Mechanism, Aqua-tourism opportunities, increased economic and social well-being of the host community, Agba said the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, is committed to working together with all strategic partners in attaining the core objectives across the various energy reforms policies and will continue to promote and drives such initiatives.
Based on the available evidence, is true that Nigeria has commissioned the first 175MW unit of the 700MW Zungeru hydropower project located on the Kaduna River in Niger State. The three other units are expected to enter production within 2022.
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