The Japanese government recently delivered a Solar Power System to the Federal Government to boost both water and power supply at the Lower Usuma Dam, Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory.
The recent donation of a $9.7 million Solar Power System by the Japanese Government to the Federal Government is expected to booster both water and power supply.
The Lower Usuma Dam where the solar scheme is located was constructed in 1982 as a multi-purpose project, conceived to serve the water needs of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and its environs. Built with a reservoir capacity of about 120 million metric tons of raw water, is also reputed to have facilities for hydro power, irrigation and other ancillary uses. Inside Abuja gathered that the main source of the water for the dam is from the Usuma River, Nasarawa River as well as River Gidna and the Gurara Dam both in Kaduna State.
The power plant component of the project is meant to supply electricity to the dam’s water treatment plant as a supplement to power supply from the national grid Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola who inaugurated the 1.2MW solar power plant, said it would reduce water treatment bills by N31 million per annum while carbon emission will reduce by 741 tonnes per annum.
He expressed appreciation to the Japanese Government, through its agency- Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), for their commitment and confidence in the Nigerian economy.
Fashola, who described the gesture as the beginning of more relationship between Japan and Nigeria, urged other international partners to assist Nigeria in its efforts to deliver incremental, steady and uninterrupted power to its citizens. He further assured that more solar, hydro and other forms of energy projects consistent with the roadmap on incremental power will soon be built.
Fashola emphasised that the project will not just enhance power and water supply within the Federal Capital Territory, but will create jobs.
“Six engineers, 60 technicians and a large number of support staff got the opportunity to work in this plant and when this project is finished not all of them will leave the site because it has to be maintained. So, it will be a continuous partnership that will continue to impact on the people,” he said.
Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello, represented at the event by the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Babatope Ajakaye, expressed delight that the FCT was the preferred choice for the location of the project.
According to him, the project “represents a good example of international collaboration in addressing critical developmental issues.”
He expressed delight that the project had recorded appreciable progress given the completion of the first phase and expressed hope that the various parties involved would remain focused to see it through to its logical conclusion.
Bilateral relations The Ambassador of Japan to Nigeria, Sadanobu Kusaoke, who was on ground to hand over the project, said that his country has enjoyed a cordial bilateral relationship with Nigeria since the 1970s. Kusaoke said that Japan considered the power sector as one of the most important areas to enhance Nigeria’s socio-economic development.
He also stressed that his country’s belief that Nigeria needs a genuine help to develop her potential, informed their resolve in financing the power sector to increase the capacity of power right from the Kainji dam hydro power station project.
According to the ambassador, the projects was the 10th in the series of power sector projects executed by the Japanese Government in Nigeria. He assured that his country will remain committed to maintaining the diplomatic ties it has with Nigeria, and will continue to support people-oriented projects.
While pointing out what Japan is set to achieve by its involvement in Nigeria’s power sector, he said that beside strengthening the relationship and cultivating some mutual economic benefits for the two countries, Japan would also want Nigeria to enjoy stable power supply which is key to industrial development for the enhancement of living standard.
He noted that there was no doubt about the technical competence of Toyota Tsusho Corporation, the company that designed and supervised the project to completion. Kusaoke explained that the project was capable of generating 1,496MWH, stressing that this would result in reduction of N31.5 million per year for payment of electricity bill. Chief Representative of JICA, Nigeria office, Hirotaka Nakamura, said improving core infrastructure including power sector in Nigeria was one of the priority areas of the agency in Nigeria.
According to Nakamura, developing alternative energy resources such as solar, wind and hydropower will boost electricity in the country. He explained that the project was designed to introduce a demonstration unit of solar electricity generation system with a view to increasing its economic strength on a sustainable basis.
Alhaji Hudu Bello, the Director, FCT Water Board, who expressed gratitude to the government of Japan and its agency JICA, said the project would improve revenue accruable from the water sector in the FCT.
He said: “This is elaborate project that will improve water supply to the residents of Abuja; it will also reduce the rate at which we consume diesel to pump water.” Bello said the project would reduce the cost of generating electricity and also contribute power to the national grid to improve supply within the nation’s capital.
Engr. Yusuf Madaki, who runs a solar power system in Abuja, is of the opinion that exploring other source of energy to augment the ailing national grid was a good idea.
He, however, advised that the government should create an enabling environment for indigenous investors in that sector to grow. He also asked the government to ensure that a good maintenance culture was adopted so that solar power plant donated by the international partners will not be allowed to rust away.