Power Minister Cancels Visit To Zungeru Dam Over Protests
The protests by various communities in Zungeru, Niger State, may have forced the Minister of Power, Saleh Mamman, to shelve his scheduled visit to the Zungeru Hydro Power Dam on Thursday.
Protesters numbering over 1000 and led by the state youth leader, Bello Shariff, blocked the Zungeru-Kontagora road as early as 10am on Thursday, demanding the rehabilitation and construction of roads in all parts of the state, especially those leading to Zungeru before the minister would be allowed to set foot in the area.
Our correspondent gathered that the minister who was supposed to visit the dam abruptly cancelled the trip after receiving security reports about the situation on the ground.
The state government delegation led by the Deputy Governor, Ahmed Ketso, arrived in Zungeru without the minister.
Speaking during the protest, Sheriff, who is the leader of the protesters, said all the communities surrounding the Zungeru Hydro Dam in Zungeru town, Wushishi Local Government of Niger State were involved in the protest.
He said, “We appreciate the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari towards the completion of the Zungeru Dam project inherited from his predecessor having considered its economic and social violability to the state, Nigeria and Africa as a whole.”
The youth leader stated that the communities were aware that the funding for the Zungeru Dam would cover the reconstruction of highways for major routes such as Bida – Lemu – Wushishi Zungeru and Zungeru-Tegina – Kontagora Road to withstand the movement of heavy equipments to the dam site.
He said, “Our communities and source of livelihood have been exposed to untold hardship due to the decaying roads by the movement of heavy trucks conveying equipment to Dam site resulting to daily loss of lives and man hours because of hold up.
“This is affecting business and economic activities and making it difficult to convey agricultural outputs to markets by our people who are predominantly farmers.”
Presenting a protest letter to President Muhammadu Buhari through the Deputy Governor of Niger State, Ahmed Ketso, Shariff said, “As host communities, we wish to humbly request your good offices to kindly intervene as a matter of urgency in ensuring that the Syno Hydro Company begins the rebuilding/rehabilitation of their major routes as they did from Zungeru to Dam site to reduce our suffering due to construction activities.”