As BIPC moves to solve Benue state electricity conundrum…

Efforts to generate electricity in Benue state have been in focus for governors, with the aim of boosting the socio-economic development of the state. JOHN SHIAONDO reports on the latest effort being made by the current administration of Governor Hyacinth Alia to reverse the trend.

The bid to improve electricity in Benue state has seen contributions from various governors, including George Akume, Gabriel Suswam, and Samuel Ortom who had
embarked on massive purchase of transformers and electrification of rural communities to provide stable electricity.

These efforts, though laudable, have only resulted in expansion without any significant improvement in the supply of electricity in the state.

Benue state communities have suffered serious epileptic power supply over the years and the situation of the power outages have not only caused inconvenience, but also led to suspicions of sabotage, leading sometimes to issues resulting in crisis and loss of lives.

The situation has been quite severe, with conflicts arising between neighbouring environments and even communities over the distribution of electricity leading to tragic consequences. There have been significant challenges in the state, including a crisis that escalated due to electricity outages in Otukpo.

It has become clear that the poor power supply in the state and its effects have been a critical issue that affects the safety and well-being of the indigenes and residents, and it requires urgent attention from the authorities to prevent further incidents.

Recently, in order to end the problem of electric power supply, the state government, under the initiative of the Benue Investment and Property Company (BIPC), announced plans to construct a power plant aimed at independently generating electricity.

This move, according to the state government, was part of a broader strategy to foster socio-economic growth across the state’s communities and the managing director of BIPC, Raymond Asemakaha, has been actively involved in this initiative.

The recent federal government’s bill signed into law by the President Ahmed Bola Tinubu-led administration that allows state governments, institutions and individuals, to own and manage their electricity companies has paved the way for this project.

The MD, while receiving a team from an energy company, Remedy Earth, recently at the Corporate Headquarters of the BIPC in Makurdi, engaged with the Company to establish a pilot plant in the state.

The goal, according to Dr. Asemakaha, is in compliance with the agenda of the Governor Hycinth Iormem Alia-led administration to improve infrastructure and drive transformation and stimulate the economic activities across the communities by ensuring a reliable power supply.

He said the need for Benue state to generate its own electricity is driven by the desire to achieve socio-economic development and improve the quality of life for its residents.

He stated that with the Governor Alia administration’s commitment and strategic planning, the state can beat the challenges of inadequate power supply and pave the way for a brighter, more prosperous future.

“This development is a proactive step by the state government to address the energy needs of its communities and is expected to pave the way for significant socio-economic growth.

“It reflects a trend of state governments taking charge of their energy requirements to ensure sustainable and reliable power sources for their citizens. The move towards state-generated electricity is expected to drive transformation and stimulate economic activities, providing a brighter future for the residents of Benue state,” he said.

Continuing, he said, “For us we know that one of the things that stimulate the economy is when you have enough power. So, we are looking for options to ensure that the state generates its power and share to its communities.

“We want them to do the plant here and test-run it so we can know what they are capable before we will engage them. Gone are the days that people tell stories, we want to see it before we can recommend them to the governor.”

The team of Remedy Earth Energy Company led by its regional head (Africa), Mr. Peace Obichere, gave the assurance that the Company was ready to execute the pilot plant for BIPC within nine months.

Obichere added that the Company had the manpower and technical know-how that were required to execute the project and would pull it to have the plant come to fruition.

He said further that the Company “makes use of 100% renewable technology and does not require peaker plants, battery arrays, or tonnes of scarce metals for every 1MW of power supplied; it does not use the dirty fuels that pollute the world and create toxic waste.”

“We make use of minimal land and unlike most renewable, our ground-breaking technology provides a constant 24/7 source of output power, liberating users from all the typical challenges of intermittent power such as grid stability, and storage issues, as well as saving you from having to build in multiples of excess capacity.

“It has location independence, which means you can harness the electromagnetic spectrum anywhere you like. This means that you can have a super efficient distributed generation network of power that doesn’t rely on grid access to deliver power.

“It is also cost effective, risk free with manufacturing warranty and Performance Guarantee with Insurance wrap by Lloyd’s of London or A+ rated Insurer. It is also, super scalable and only requires 0.1% of the land that wind and solar do, and there are no impacts on weather cycles or local ecosystems as you scale up, meaning it can replace all known electricity sources, without limitation.”

The state government’s plan through the BIPC to establish a power plant is a significant step towards achieving energy autonomy and stimulating economic activities.

Benue state, like many other states in the country, has suffered over the years from an inadequate electricity supply, which has hampered economic growth.

JEDC’s pledge

The Jos Electricity Distribution Company (JEDC) which supplies electricity to the state has pledged to invest in the state to improve power supply, but challenges such as funding, technical expertise, and maintenance have persisted.

The Commissioner for Cooperative and Rural Development, Mrs. Joy Luga, while speaking on the need for a state-owned electricity power plant, expressed optimism that the power plant when completed would provide the energy deficit being experienced by the people of the state.

She said it would enable the state to tailor its energy solutions to meet local demands, manage resources more efficiently, and reduce reliance on the national grid.


Dr. Mike Kwaghfan Agbo, who spoke to this reporter on the need for a Benue Power plant, commended the efforts of the BIPC in this direction.

He said the plant would provide reliable power supply and assist in attracting investments, boosting local industries, and creating jobs.

He also noted that consistent electricity would improve health care, education, and overall living conditions, adding that the state could explore renewable energy sources, contributing to environmental conservation and long-term sustainability.

According to him, the initiative is a commendable step towards self-sufficiency and economic empowerment.

“As the plans unfold, it is essential to ensure that the projects are executed with transparency, efficiency, and a focus on sustainable practices,” he said.

Mr. Peter Asema, the information officer of BIPC, when asked whether work has commenced on the pilot power project, said, “Work has not started on the project yet. We are waiting for the Company to return for the paper work before the project will fully kick-start.”

It is also worthy of note to added that previous administrations were alleged to have been in talks through the Federal Ministry of Power for Decrown West Africa Company to establish a significant hydroelectric power plant at the banks of River Katsina Ala.

The Katsina-Ala hydro power project, also known as the Grand Kastina Ala Hydropower project, was said to have been developed as a public-private partnership and was proposed to have a capacity of 460MW.

The client for the project was the Federal Ministry of Power of Nigeria.
Though enough information has not been provided on the specific date or time the project will begin, the project is aimed at generating electricity to boost not just Benue, but the country’s power generation and increase economic activities.

It is proposed to be located on the Katsina Ala River downstream of the existing 40 MW Kashimbilla Hydropower plant.