By Obas Esiedesa
Leaders of host communities for the $.5.9 billion Mambilla Hydroelectric power project in Taraba State have assured the Federal Government of their cooperation to ensure the take of the project.
Contracts for the project was awarded in 2017 to a consortium of Chinese firms but dispute over land issues and resettlement of communities have delayed the commencement of work. Also, Chinese Exim Bank which was expected to provide the bulk of the funding is said to be concerned about the commercial viability of the project.
Electricity tariff in Nigeria is regulated by a government agency and has been blamed for the current liquidity crisis facing the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry.
But the communities spread across seven local government areas of Taraba State said they were ready to give up their lands to ensure the take-off of the project.
Speaking during a sensitization meeting in Abuja organized by the state government in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Power, the communities’ leaders said all demand of government was justice that ensures adequate compensations were paid to locals.
Former president of the Trade Union Congress, Comrade Bobboi Kaigama who spoke on behalf of communities Sarduana LGA assured the government of their total support.
Also, Hon. Joseph John who spoke for communities in Kurmi LGA said the people were ready to give up their lands for the project.
On his Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State said the Mambilla Power Project will enliven industrial activities in the state and the country at large, when completed.
He said that the power plant would upon completion transmit power to the national grid through four 500kV DC transmission lines connecting Makrudi and one 330kV DC transmission line connecting Jalingo.
The governor said that the project was of huge economic significance to the state, saying, “it will raise the industrial base of the state.
“The project when completed will add to the portfolio of strategic infrastructure that will perpetually stimulate growth, development and transformation.
“Not only of the state but of the whole country, the 3050 megawatts of electricity that it promises to generate is quite huge,” he said.
Earlier, the Minister of Power, Mr Saleh Mamman reiterated the Federal Government’s determination to ensure the completion of the project.
Mamman said that the Federal Government’s passion for the project led to its approval to constitute an inter-ministerial steering committee.
According to him, “As a ministry, we have taken a number of critical steps to ensure the successful take-off of the project.
“We have effectively collaborated with the state government and commenced sensitisation of host communities.
“The ministry has also engaged land surveyors to demarcate the project areas and commence enumeration”.