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A non-governmental organization, Community Action for Popular Participation (CAPP) said today that it is  “seriously disturbed by the recent news report that the Federal Government has abandoned the Hydro Power Producing Area Development Commission (HYPPADEC) project after two years of its passage by both chambers of the National Assembly and subsequent signing into law by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.”

CAPP in statement issued by Kyauta A.S. Giwa its  executive director  said even though the reason for the abandonment is not yet clear to us, “CAPP believes that no reason should warrant such action because this is one promise in which so much hope had been raised.

We are deeply concerned that after two years of energy and resource sapping effort on the Act, the Federal Government is not keen on such a wonderful idea despite electoral promises to that effect. We are also concerned that the Act is about rights issue and needs to be treated in an inclusive and participatory manner so as to avoid the consequent backlashes that may not augur well for the government and the nation at large.”

It notes that “The HYPPADEC is a Commission with similar origin and functions like the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) but unlike the NDDC, it does not seem to enjoy its deserved attention. We believe that the areas generating electricity for the entire country deserves the same, if not a better treatment, to justify the monumental sacrifices that the host communities made to enable the  construction of the which have been operating since the sixties. The people living in the hydro-Power Producing Areas have genuine environmental concerns just like the Niger Deltans.

If the Niger Delta peoples’ agitation for resource control as a result of environmental degradation and deprivation is regarded by Nigeria as a legitimate one, so also is the cry of  the people living in the hydro- power producing areas. This is so because the hydro electric power projects have rendered a massive segment of their environment desolate and unsupportive of human lives and activities thereby inflicting adverse socio-economic consequences on them. 

Nonetheless, electricity which is the product of the hydro-dams is enjoyed by all citizens through out the country.  We in CAPP do not believe like some people do, that the signing into law of HYPPADEC was a political trick that the government is playing on the host communities of the mega dams who have for over three decades been suffering the environmental degradation and associated negative social and economic effects of the operation of these dams. Essentially, the livelihoods of these people have been dislocated for several years, making the establishment of the Commission a necessity.”

It is in the light of the above that “CAPP wishes to remind the government that the issue of doing justice to the dammed communities is paramount because the people have been patient and peaceful for years in the legitimate pursuit of this Commission which they believe will take care of their needs and concerns.

This line of action should be encouraged by the government in this era when youth restiveness is becoming a security challenge all over the country. This will be the only fair thing that the government could do to alleviate the long years of suffering and agitation of the host communities.

CAPP added that  it  believes  the establishment of the Commission is in the interest of Nigeria at large and not that of the communities alone. We also believe that the establishment of the Commission will ensure continuous peace and harmony in the communities while ensuring even and balanced development and giving every section of the country a sense of belonging.

Therefore “CAPP calls on the Federal Government to consider taking urgent and necessary steps to give the necessary effect to the establishment of the much desired HYPPADEC Commission as proposed in the Act setting it up since the government has even taken a bold step by making budgetary allocations both in 2011 and 2012.”

Community Action for Popular Participation (CAPP) is a non- governmental, non- partisan, non-religious and membership based organization that has been working with host communities of hydro-dams over the years.

Source: Vanguardngr