By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
Senate on Monday berated the Federal Ministry of Power over non provision of budgetary allocation in 2021 budget for the execution of Mambila Power Project in Taraba state.
The Senators expressed their displeasure before the Minister of Power, Mamman Sale, during the 2021 budget defence session of the ministry and its agencies.
Sen. Shuaibu Lau, (PDP Taraba) in his presentation said the project may not see the light of the day given the absence of commitment on the project by the ministry.
He said his assessment of the Mambila project site indicates that there was no commitment on the part of the ministry to begin execution of the project.
“The project may not see the light of the day. There is no road in Mambila, completely no road, you can’t take any equipment to Mambila at the moment, even to transport personnels to the place, there is no road,so how will the project take off ?.”
“There is a court case that have not been settled and the Chinese company can not come with the court case still on. What is the position of the court case, how will the issue be resolved,he asked.
“From the budget, there is nothing that concerns Mambila that shows commitment from the ministry. We are just going round on one particular project for more then 20 Years.
“We must be sincere with ourselves and tell ourself the truth about the project. Let us plan something and do the project accordingly as planned. There is no project, for me this project may not see the light of the day.
Sen.James Manager(PDP Delta)said several power experts had noted that the Mambila project, if completed would help salvage the power deficit in the country.
He, however, noted that no seriousness on execution of the project had been shown by the ministry from discussions on the project.
Manager, said he had thought that the minister would be desirous of completing the project given the life time opportunity of being minister from the region.
He said the project should have been a priority of the ministry before the Senate Committee on Power.
“I get very frustrated, Mr Chairman, why are we like this. There is no way the Chinese will make any moves about this project without seeing any seriousness from Nigeria. Mr Chairman, we need to be serious,we need to find solutions to this Mambila issue. The state government need to partner with Federal Government on this issue, “he said.
Some other senators who decried the absence of commitment on the execution of the project are Sen.Danjuma Goje (APC Gombe),Sen. Gabriel Suswan (PDP Benue),Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP Abia ) Adamu Alero(APC Kebbi) among others.
Responding, the Minister of Power, Mamman Sale said since he assumed office, he had being doing his best to kick start the Mambila power project.
He, however, shock the Senate Committee, when he disclosed that prior to his arrival as minister, there was nothing like Mambila project in existence.
“I am doing my best and I will continue to do my best.
“ I have told the whole world, when I assumed duty, as far as I am concerned all this years there is nothing like Mambila power projects.
“Now that I have come,we are trying our best, the counterpart funding that we had is 200 million dollars.
“This money had been there, and I have been pressing for the release, so that we can move to site and start work.
“It is with this money that we can clear the place, do the roads, do site clearance and begin the ground breaking .
“This will show the whole world that we are ready, and that is when any investors that are ready to come will invest, that is what the Chinese are waiting for.”