The Senate on Thursday raised the alarm over an imminent blackout in the northern part of the country due to zero gas supply to the 215 megawatts Kaduna power plant, adding that the development had led to a shutdown of the industrial sector in the region.
This was contained in a motion moved by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Gas), Senator Bassey Akpan, at the plenary on Thursday. The motion was titled, ‘The Urgent Need to Save the 215 Megawatts Kaduna Power Plant.’
The lawmakers unanimously adopted the prayer of the motion to mandate the Senate Committees on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy, and Gas to investigate “this anomaly and report back to the Senate immediately.”
In the motion, Akpan criticised the alleged plan to convert the plant from being gas-powered to diesel-powered.
He said, “The Senate notes that the protracted power shortages in the northern part of the country have led to the shutdown of the industrial sector in the region. It also notes that lack of gas pipelines from the southern part to the northern part of the country has hindered power generation by the 215MW Kaduna power plant.
“The Senate further notes that the Federal Government, through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, is on the verge of awarding the contract for the construction of the 40X614km Ajaokuta-Abuja-Kaduna-Kano gas pipeline.”
The lawmaker said the Senate was further convinced that the use of gas to power turbines was key all over the world due to its environmental friendliness and cost implication, and in line with the United Nations Chatter on Green Energy and Climate Change.
Akpan, however stated, “The Senate is surprised that the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing appears to have jettisoned the use of gas to power the Kaduna power plant and, instead, opted for the construction of Automobile General Oil (diesel) tanks for the use of AGO, which is 60 per cent higher in cost when compared with gas.
“It is further surprised that in the Federal Tenders Journal of Monday, May 28, 2017 to Sunday, June 11, 2017, the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing has advertised for the supply of AGO instead of gas to power the Kaduna power plant.”
The senator also said the General Electric/Rockson Engineering Consortium, after becoming aware of the development, had raised the alarm on the environmental hazards, costs and efficiency of the plant, and threatened to withdraw their warranty on the project.
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, in his remarks, called a decisive action against the conversion of the alleged power plant, and also expressed concern over how personal interests had taken over the interests of the masses in the country.
“Sometimes, you wonder where these people are coming from and what their interests are,” he said.