The host communities of Shiroro Hydroelectric Power Station in Niger State on Friday urged the Federal Government to expedite action on payment of compensation to enable them to relocate upstream.
Aliyu Umaru, the District Head of Gurumana community in Shiroro Local Government Area, made the call at a stakeholders’ flood awareness forum in Shiroro, Niger State.
Umaru, who spoke on behalf of the 40 communities in Shiroro and Munya local government areas of the state, said the resettlement of the people was imperative owing to flood from the dam.
Umar said: “We want the Federal Government to pay us for our economic trees and farmland so that we can move away from the dam.
“We were paid little or nothing when the dam was constructed by government in 1990.”
He said the devastating effect of flood in the communities had made life unbearable because of water released from the dam.
He said: “Sometimes our houses and farmlands have been submerged because of the dam.”
The district head decried a situation where relief from the federal and state governments meant for the communities were diverted and as a result the people got little or nothing.
He urged the North South Power Company, operators of the Shiroro Hydroelectric Power Station, to employ youths from the communities as part of its social responsibility.
Responding, Mohammed Manbo, the State Coordinator of Hydroelectric Power Producing Areas Development Commission, said the commission would soon begin operation.
Mambo said: “The five states of HYPPADEC, that is Niger, Kogi, Kwara, Plateau and Kebbi, are already meeting with the Federal Government to ensure that the commission took off soon.
“HYPPADEC is saddled with the responsibility of developing the communities within the Kainji, Jebba and Shiroro dams by providing socio-economic amenities in the areas.
“So, very soon, your agitations will be taken care of by HYPPADEC.”
He appealed to the affected communities not to take the law into their hands because of the devastating effect of flood.
Also, Hassan Abdullahi, the consultant to North South Power Company, said the company was currently training youths from the affected communities on vocational skills.
Abdullahi expressed optimism that the funds accruing to HYPPADEC from the company would be utilized for the development of the communities when the commission commenced operation.
Similarly, Daudu Abdul-Aziz, the Chief Operating Officer of North South Power Company, said: “In the next few weeks HYPPADEC will commence operations and the interventions agitated for by host communities will be met.”
Abdul-Aziz said the company was living up to its social responsibilities to the host communities hence the annual sensitization on flooding.
The bill establishing HYPPADEC was passed by the National Assembly in 2008 and signed into law by the president in 2010.
The Federal Government leased Shiroro Hydroelectric Power Station to the North South Power Company for 30 years on November 1, 2013 for the purpose of power generation.