Senate to probe mambila power project

Sharon EboesomiJuly 4, 20247 min

The Senate also decided to stick with the original plan to keep the mambila project’s capacity at 3,000 megawatts

Senate to probe Mambila Hydroelectric Power Project

The Senate has set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate delays in the execution of the mambila hydroelectric power project (MHEPP) that was commissioned since 1999.

This is as they emphasised how past administrations had neglected to reallocate the sum of $1.7 billion for the Ajaokuta Steel Complex and give priority to the mambila project, which has the potential to produce 3050 megawatts.

The Senate also decided to stick with the original plan to keep the project’s capacity at 3,000 megawatts.

This was sequel to the consideration of a motion sponsored by Senator Haruna Manu (PDP, Taraba Central) and co-sponsored by 29 other Senators during Wednesday’s plenary.

Senator Manu noted that due to the priority placed on power in the ‘renewed hope agenda’ of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, particularly to electricity generation for capacity expansion, the mambila project with its capacity to generate 3050MW and reposition the Ajaokuta project makes it a priority project of national importance.

He further expressed worry over the volume of contradictory information about the project, which according to him, may hinder the actualisation of the good objectives and benefits.

He said: “The project has great benefits for local content in the area of human capital development, including the creation of over 55,000 jobs, construction of resettlement homes for over 100,000 people, hauling and supplying of over 2.7 million tons of steel, production and supply of over 76 million tons of quarry stone, the opportunity for Ashaka and Benue cement tc produce and supply cement, and for Styer Nigeria Limited and DPAN Limited, and Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Co. Limited to manufacture trucks and participate in over 12,000 trips of haulage and transportation logistics from Lagos and Calabar ports to the host community.

“The decades of efforts towards the take-off of this national economic asset have been ongoing including that from north east governors to place the project in implementation mode; the appointment of HYPERTECH Nigeria by the Chinese consortium as the local content consultant; the creation of a presidential inter-ministerial committee comprising four relevant stakeholders (The Federal Ministry of Power, The Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation, The Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and Planning, and The Federal Ministry of Justice) in 2019 by the Buhari-led government to effectively coordinate the implementation of the project.”

According to him, a schedule of pre-commencement activities by the government on resettlement, access road, security, and airfield has been provided and as well as 27 MDAs and over 500 companies which have already been identified towards the actualisation of the 15% local content counterpart funding. 

He noted that the project is to be carried out based on Presidential Executive Order 5 which has been issued to provide the platform for the framework of the local content especially as it relates to preference, accreditation, capacity development, and contract award.

The agreement between a Russian firm and the Republic of Niger to construct the Kandadji hydroelectric project, located about 180 kilometers northwest of the capital Niamey along the Niger River, will reduce the volume of water supply to and hamper the capacity of Kainji dam to generate electricity for Nigeria,” he added.

READ ALSO: Ajaokuta, Mambilla, Tinapa, among 8 abandoned projects with wasted funds 

Supporting the motion, the former President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan (APC, Yobe North) called for the project to be added in the budget and stressed the importance for immediate action to be taken to determine the status of the project.

He said: “Mr. President, we are begging you, our presidents, our leaders, that the resolutions here must be treated specially. We need power to progress in this country. The Chinese are so discouraged and in fact they are not showing any more serious interest, but we have to bring them back because they are our business.”

On his part, Senator Adams Oshiomhole (APC, Edo North) said, “This issue has nothing to do with any part of Nigeria whether north east or north west; it is about Nigeria. The world is unanimous that there are two key drivers in modern society. First, skilling of people through appropriate education, the other is power. 

“We have had debates in these chambers which speak to the use of technology. These technologies are power-driven and I think the more we diversify the source of power, the better for Nigeria. And so for me, I agree with all of those who have said this should be seen as a national challenge and it’s consistent with the renewed hope agenda. President Bola has promised to renew our hope and to reinvigorate and revive those things that have been forgotten.” 

Former governor of Sokoto state, Senator Aminu Tambuwal (PDP, Sokoto South), in his contribution, appealed to President Tinubu to ensure the project is executed for the betterment of the country.

He said: “When I was Deputy Chief Whip of the House of Representatives to chair the Committee on Power. When the committee ran into trouble while investigating the NIPB projects, I reviewed the Mambila hydro project. Sunrise lacks the capacity, they lack the competence to execute that project. The proposed CGGC had the capacity. They were the ones that gave China 22,500 megawatts of electricity, the biggest and largest in the world and these were the people that were being considered for this project. I appeal to President Bola Tinubu, if we must have a legacy project, let it be mambila as number one, because it will have multiple effects, it will have triple effects on the economy, on the infrastructure of Nigeria.” 

  • About the Mambila Hydroelectric Power Project 

The mambilla hydropower project is a 3.05GW hydroelectric facility that developed in Kakara Village of Taraba State, Nigeria. It was first envisaged in 1972, but it wasn’t until 35 years later, in 2007, that it was given the green light to proceed with 2,600MW of installed capacity by China’s Gezhouba Group. Up to 50,000 local employment could be created during the project’s building phase, which is expected to cost $5.8 billion.

STAR Check: Nigerians, particularly, constituents of Taraba Central district, can keep tabs on the legislative performance of Sen. Manu throughout the 10th senate here. 

Sharon Eboesomi

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