The Federal Government has so far released a total of about N1.2bn to the Taraba State Government for different tasks ahead of the final take-off of work on the 3,050 megawatts Mambilla Hydroelectric Power Project.
It was gathered in Abuja that the funds were released for survey works and the sensitisation of various host communities occupying the site where the plant is to be constructed.
The N2tn power project is located in Sardauna Local Government Area of Taraba State and its construction has lingered for about 40 years.
Officials at the Federal Ministry of Power told our correspondent that about N700m was first released for survey works on the project site, while additional N500m was paid to the state for sensitisation of host communities.
It was gathered in Abuja on Friday that the Minister of Power, Sale Mamman, visited Taraba State during the week, where he met with the State Governor, Darius Ishaku, and discussed issues bordering on the 3,050MW project, among others.
According to senior officials at the ministry, the minister and the governor agreed to address the challenges confronting the smooth take-off of the project.
Mamman, who tweeted some of the highlights of the Wednesday meeting via his official Twitter handle, stated that the Federal Government and Taraba State discussed how to speed up work on the project.
He said, “I paid a visit to the Taraba State Government House where I met with the governor and brother.
“We held discussions centered on how to speed up the final take-off of the Mambilla Hydroelectric Power Project and other power issues affecting the state.”
The 3,050MW Mambilla project had faced series of setbacks over time, as The PUNCH reported exclusively on July 21, 2020 that the Federal Government was awaiting the comprehensive list of those who own the land where the plant is to be sited so as to begin the payment of compensation.
Officials at the ministry stated that the Federal Government had yet to make progress on the project due to the non-payment of compensation.
The Special Assistant to the Minister of Power on Media and Communications, Aaron Artimas, told our correspondent that aside from the N700m that was earlier paid for survey works, the Federal Government released additional N500m.
He said, “There was supposed to be sensitisation, for which the Federal Ministry of Power also released over N500m.
“The Federal Government gave them (Taraba) over N500m for sensitisation but unfortunately work has not progressed on that project as expected.”
He noted that the Federal Government had to pay for the sensitisation programme due to the fact that it was acquiring the land from the state.
Asked if the ministry had reminded the state government on the need to make the compensation list available, Artimas explained that in December last year the state was contacted for a stakeholders meeting.
It was learnt that the meeting was to have leaders from the affected communities, state and federal government officials in attendance and was to be funded by the power ministry.
But the state, according to minister’s special assistant, requested that the meeting be postponed to January this year. The meeting was again shifted to February.
It was gathered that the stakeholders meeting was then moved to Abuja where it was announced that the N700m cheque for survey works at the site had been issued to the state government.
Ministry officials said that the outbreak of COVID-19 had also slowed the sequence of events on the project, but expressed optimism that the minister’s visit to the state would trigger the commencement of work on the project.