By Etuka Sunday
The Chairman, House Committee on Power, Hon. Magaji Da’u Aliyu yesterday declared that the over 40 years old Mambilla Hydro-Power project exited only on papers, saying there was nothing on ground to show that the project has commenced before the coming of this administration.
His conclusion came shortly after a Right of Way report from the Director, Renewable Energy & Rural Power Access, Engr. Faruk Yusuf Yabo that the land for the project has just been acquired.
“There was no legal title to the land until now,” Engr. Yabo said.
Speaking after his report, the Chairman said,”I wish to sincerely thank President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Power for achieving this feat, there was never anything like Mambilla power project, it exists only in books and on papers before this government.”
Hon. Aliyu spoke during the Committee’s oversight visit to the Ministry of Power Headquarters, Abuja.
He said, the approval of funds and other activities geared towards kick starting the Mambilla Power Project was an indication of govemment’s display of politicai will in providing adequate and steady power supply to Nigerians.
He said, as representatives of the people, it was the constitutional mandate of the committee to undertake periodic oversight visit in compliance with Statutory provisions.
He said, the aim was to ensure prudent utilization of appropriated funds and to be on the same page with the executive in ensuring infrastructural development.
The Committee Chair said, the National Assembly was inquisitive about the slow rate of implementation of the Hydroelectric Power Producing Areas Development Commission Act, 2010 and its subsequent amendment, therefore, drew the attention of the minister to the House’s earlier resolution that HYPPADEC should commence operation by the 1st of January, 2020.
Following the resolution, he ordered HYPPADEC to rellocate to Niger to commence operation.
On NBET, he said, the committee observed the power play by agents of the executive arm concerning the happenings at the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company Pic (NBET).
He noted that NBET remains an Agency under the Ministry of Power, saying there would be no 2021 Budget appropriation for NBET if it does not move back to the Ministry of Power.
“NBET no doubt, has a critical role to play as the key financial organ _of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI).
“As lawmakers, we frown at every possible attempt at contravening aspects of the law. The provisions of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, 2005 with regards to successor companies, shows clearly that NBET is an agency under the Ministry of Power. It is my opinion that the alleged decision to move the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company Plc from the Ministry of Power to the Ministry of Finahce is akin to hitting the self-destruct
“We cannot afford to play politics with an issue as sensitive and as vital as this. I therefore wish to use this medium to reiterate that as far as the National Assembiy is concerned NBET still remains an agency under the Ministry of Power.”
“And let me say it for the avoidance of doubt, if anybody tries to play fast on this, the National Assembly will not appropriate Funds to NBET in 2021Budget,” he said.
Earlier, the Minister of Power, Engr. Sale Mamman said, the HYPPADEC Act was passed into law in August 2010 and amended in July 2018.
Engr. Mamman said, the objective of HYPPADEC was to bring development to the communities in the area affected by activities of hydro power plants.
He said, “in accordance with the concern and directive of the National Assembly during 2020 Budget defense for immediate take -off HYPPADEC, the Ministry has appointed a Director to oversee the coordination of the take-off of the Commission.
“A source of funding to enable the take-off of the commission has been approved,” he said.
He listed inadequate budgetary provision and untimely release of budgetary funds, as some of the challenges facing the Ministry.
The Minister informed the committee that the reinforcement of Lagos Transmission substation (APAPA/ AKANGBA) was at the bid opening and evaluation in Tokyo, Japan. “This is a grant from JICA,” he said.
He said, the implementation of Kashimbiiia 40MW Hydropower Project was at 100%, while that of Mambilia 3,050MW HEPP was currently at inception stage.