OrderPaperToday– The Senate has mandated its committee on Legislative Compliance to investigate reasons for the delay in the takeoff of the Hydro Electric Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPPADEC) after nine years of its establishment.
The committee is also expected to probe the utilisation of the total sum of N612, 177, 269 so far appropriated to the commission.
It is to report back to the chamber within four weeks for further legislative action.
These resolutions were taken sequel to the adoption of the resolutions of a motion moved by Sen. Muhammad Bima (APC, Niger) on Thursday during plenary.
The Hydroelectric Power Producing Areas Development Commission was established with the responsibility of managing the ecological menace, among other things, due to operation of dams and other hydroelectric power activities in the power producing areas.
The Act establishing the commission was passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the 7th Assembly on the 26th May and 3rd June 2010 respectively. It was finally signed into law by former President Goodluck Jonathan on the 10th, August 2010.
The Senate and House of Representatives of the 7th Assembly amended some sections in the Act to include Benue State as one of the benefiting states, reduce funds allocated to the benefiting states from 30 percent to 10 percent (in 2013) of the revenue generated by any company or authority from the operation of any hydroelectric dams in any member state of the commission.
However, nine years after the passage of the Act establishing the commission, it is yet to take off, Bima noted.
“The inability of the commission to take off has exposed the communities within the area of operation of hydroelectric dams in Nigeria to serious ecological challenges like flooding, loss of lives, health hazards, loss of farmlands, entire villages submerged etc.
“The sum of N354,570,637, N247,500,000 and 10,106,632 were appropriated in 2011,20114 and 2015 budgets respectively for the Commission, while nothing was allocated in 2012, 2013, 2016, 2017 and 2018 budgets.
“Despite those allocations made, the commission has not taken off and this has brought enormous hardship on the people of the areas”, he added.
The legislators also urged the federal government to, as a matter of urgency, constitute the commission and make funds available for it in the 2020 budget.