The president said that the hydro dam project, when constructed, will generate 700 mega watts of electricity for the country.
President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday kick-started the N162.9 billion Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Project in Niger State.
Mr. Jonathan in his speech, said that the hydro dam project, when constructed, would generate 700 mega watts of electricity for the country.
He said the Zungeru Hydro Electricity Power Project was conceived in 1982, but due to constraints of funds the construction work could not commence and that his administration had now solved the financial challenge by making funds available to build the dam.
He explained that it was in 1982 that the former National Electricity Power Authority (NEPA) identified the potentials of hydroelectric dam in Zungeru.
The president said that the event was a history making one, because the power plant would be the largest power plant to be built by this administration. He listed employment opportunities, agricultural development, and tourism as benefits from the dam.
He added that exportation of perishable food through the Minna Airport would also be a benefit from the dam, adding that the airport would be revitalised because of the construction of the dam.
Mr. Jonathan called on the people of the state to give him their support to ensure that the project went on smoothly for the period of four years the construction would last.
Earlier, the Governor of Niger, Babangida Aliyu, expressed appreciation to the president for making funds available for the project under the Power Sector Intervention Fund. He commended the Federal Ministry of Power for its readiness to pay appropriate compensations and the resettlement of persons affected by the project.
Mr. Aliyu assured the president of the full cooperation of the people of Niger in order to ensure that the project went on smoothly.
The Minister of Power, Chinedu Nebo, said that the Zungeru Power Project was now a reality due to the uncommon courage and determination shown by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Mr. Nebo said the project when completed would open new frontiers to drive the socio-economic transformation of the entire country to another level. He explained that 1.72 billion dollars counterpart funding was recently approved for the sector by the National Economic Council.
According to him, the money is for the Zungeru Hydroelectricity, Gurara 2 Dam in Suleja all in Niger State, and the Mambilla Dam in Taraba.
The Minister for State for Power, Zainab Kuchi, said that the Zungeru Dam was conceived about 30 years ago, adding that the first feasibility study done on the project was by Messrs Chas T. Main International of USA.
Ms. Kuchi said that the contract project was given to Messrs SYNOHYDRO Corporation/China Nation Electrical Engineering Corporation Consortium for N162.9 billion.
She added that the project would provide so many economic and social opportunities such as skill acquisition and the training of the members of the communities in the area.