The take-off of the Hydro Power Producing Area Development Commission (HYPPADEC) is now enmeshed in the murky waters of Nigerian politics.
The intrigues centred around the percentage of derivation rights to affecting states and the growing demand to include Benue State among the five benefiting states contained in the law setting up the commission.
The law, which established HYPPADEC and signed by President Goodluck Jonathan on August 24, 2010, listed the benefiting states as Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Niger and Plateau states. The five states are believed to be affected by excess discharge of water from the Hydro Electric Dams (HED) in the country.
LEADERSHIP SUNDAY learnt that the HYPPADEC Law, is yet to come into effect, two years after it was signed into law, following the move to reduce the derivation accruing to the affected states from 30 per cent to 10 per cent.
It was learnt that the Federal Ministry of Power through a letter dated October 26, 2011 with Ref MP/HM/ABJ/27/V1 to Senator Dahiru Aweisu Kuta, who presented the bill earlier passed, demanded for an amendment in the derivation percentage.
LEADERSHIP SUNDAY further learnt that the Senate, based on the pressure, yielded to the amendment in order to hasten the implementation of the Act. But during the process of amendment, the issue of the inclusion of Benue State among the benefiting states came up.
Checks also revealed that when the issue of the amendment on percentage of the derivation reached the House of Representatives, a member representing the Agaie /Lapai federal constituency in Niger State, Hon. Ibrahim Ebbo, opposed the amendment in a motion dated November 20, 2011.
The opposition, which was supported by the members of the lower chamber of the National assembly, according to sources, was hinged on the provision of the rules of the House "that no amendment would be made to an Act which has not been implemented by the executive arm of government."
It was further learnt that the development prompted the provision of budget for the take-off of the commission in the 2012 fiscal year, but this has not been implemented with less than 30 days to the end of the year.
When contacted on the development, the Coordinating Special Assistant for the HYPPADEC states, Alhaji Muhammad Aliyu Koshe, said it was true that there were moves to include Benue State among the benefiting states. He also said that there was a move for the amendment as regards the percentage of derivation.
Koshe, however, disclosed that "a team led by the Director, Investment Sector Development of the Federal Ministry of Power, Dr. Hassan Abdullahi, visited Minna, Niger State last October to inspect the office accommodation of 35 rooms donated by the Niger State government for the take-off of the commission."
He added that the affected states were waiting for the implementation of the Act and the benefits accruing form the commission to the people, who were suffering from perennial flooding due to excess water discharged from the hydro-electric dams.