Nigeria inaugurates 400-kW Tunga small hydroelectric project

Power to Sardauna, Taraba, Nigeria has increased with the Aug. 14 commissioning of the 400-kW Tunga hydroelectric project on the Donga River.

Nigeria, in conjunction with the United Nations High Commission for Refugee (UNHCR) and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) reportedly developed the small hydro project that will indirectly better living conditions for more than 50,000 people living on the Mambilla Plateau.

UNIDO assisted Nigeria Beverage Production Co. Ltd. with electromechanical equipment to eliminate diesel and firewood usage in its Mambilla Beverages Co., at Sardauna, the area’s largest employer.

The Benue, Donga and Taraba rivers, with Donga being the largest, flow through the Mambilla Plateau forming the watershed that comprises the major riparian areas in the state of Taraba.

Taraba shares an international boundary with the Republic of Cameroon to the south and southeast. According to local news agencies, refugees who moved to the region in 2001 from unrest in Cameroon now live in this part of Nigeria that also includes Kakara, Kusuku, Galadima, Nguroje and Kurmi.

Economically, the state suffers from relatively high rates of poverty: about 68.3% of its population lives in absolute poverty, although this rate is lower than all but one other northeastern Nigerian state, Borno, according to published reports.

UN agencies and the Nigerian government plan to increase the plant’s capacity as well as construct an additional plant that would supply uninterrupted electricity to all the communities on the plateau and the state at large.

“I am so delighted that the first project I am inaugurating as a governor is very key to my rescue mission in the state,” said Taraba Gov. Darius Ishaku. “I hereby pledge the total commitment of the state government in partnering with the concern of the UN to put in place another plant to supply electricity to more communities in the state.”

Mambilla Beverages Nigeria Ltd. manufactures tea and other products from more than an available 123,000 acres of tea plantations on the plateau. Mambilla is a high grassland plateau with an average elevation of about 5,000 ft above sea level, making it the highest plateau in Nigeria.


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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for

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