ICC clears SPTCL as hope blossoms for Mambilla
One might wonder why a project as important as the Mambilla hydroelectric project, which promises 50,000 skilled jobs, enormous economic benefits and 3,050 megawatts of electricity, has not seen the light of day since 1972, when the project was designed.
From the era of President Olusegun Obasanjo to date, it is either a conspiracy or the other, lies and fairy tales resulting from bureaucracy and weak commitment to carry out well this viable project, like any other unbalanced approach towards meaningful projects.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who lacks popular support due to the economic downturn, was surprisingly the only sitting president to give the project some hope. If there’s one thing the APC-led government has achieved, it’s tremendous infrastructure development, and many may not be aware of it.
The APC-led government with few financial resources at its disposal has executed landmark infrastructure projects like the 600 road project, the completed N90bn Bodo Bonny road bridges. Other projects funded under the PIDF include the second bridge over the Niger, the improvement of rail services and other supply chains to the hinterland.
With the development of the inland dry port in Kano and Kaduna, with the direct rail connection, one can safely call President Buhari Mr. Project.
But the question remains whether PMB would keep its promise in executing the Mambilla hydroelectric project if necessary before handing over or if the current crises would continue to persist.
Studies have shown that the short-term and long-term gains of this viable project will not only eradicate poverty, but also solve by sociological means the security unrest in the North East region.
The Mambilla hydroelectric project is considered the largest dam project in Africa.
The Buhari government has approved the composition of an Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee (IMSC) and a Project Delivery Committee (PDC) for the N2 trillion Mambilla hydropower project with considerable progress and milestone targets.
Contrary to fairy tales and bureaucratic lies, Sunrise Power Transmission Company (SPTC), which won the bidding process in 2003 and got the approval of then President Obasanjo, still remains the sole pioneer of the local content with the sustainable solution through its financing agreement with the Chinese Export-Import Bank which is to provide 85% of the financing (in the form of a loan) while the government will provide 15% ($870 million).
Unfortunately, China Exim Bank withdrew its offer to support the project following a legal battle between FGN and Sunrise Power Transmission Company.
The Buhari government has proposed by the federation’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Minister of Energy and Minister of Water Resources to reach an agreement with local content entrepreneur Sunrise Transmission Company Limited after the intervention of the Chinese President during PMB’s visit to China.
Under pressure from Senate Speaker Ahmad Lawan in particular, other government officials and well-meaning Nigerians, SPTC dropped its arbitration case against the Federal Government of Nigeria, including the Minister of Justice, celebrated on national television.
Unfortunately, in the hope of moving forward after the execution of valid contractual agreements, some elements named the honorary SAN Club of Lagos headed by the controversial Supo Shashore, a former Attorney General of Lagos and a Nigerian lawyer in the P&ID case, have been substantiated as influencing Justice Department elements to poke holes in and sabotage the settlement agreement already reached by the FGN, even against their own will.
However, the controversial lawyer is currently fighting with the EFCC over alleged malpractice and money laundering and could be arrested this month.
To date, the FGN has failed to complete its settlement agreement with Sunrise while returning to the ICC to bring baseless claims and allegations against SPTCL. On October 13, 2022, the ICC dismissed the fictitious allegations against Sunrise Power Transmission Company made by FGN’s lawyers, unfortunately leaving FGN vulnerable and exposed to claims from Sunrise Power Transmission Limited.
As things stand, the FGN is liable for more than $500 million in reference to the settlement agreement entered into by the FGN. When would the spell towards the successful launch of this viable project be broken and who would take the bull by the horn in the matter? Is Sunrise Power Transmission Company still ready to set up and carry out the project alongside its foreign counterparts and China Exim Bank? Can Sunrise still trust FGN to keep its words and reach a profitable consensus?
Does President Buhari GCFR have a full picture of events or in the dark like many other events? The FGN should for once meet its own side of the settlement agreements, sheathe its sword and follow the honorable part to allow a quick start of the Mambilla hydroelectric project instead of creating more platforms for negative media at scale world and also avoid unnecessary lability on this great nation which can barely survive at the moment.
Pambegua, Kaduna State.