By Ediri Ejoh, with Agency report
MINISTER of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said the Federal Government has approved the construction of a $5.8 billion Mambilla hydroelectric power plant by a Chinese state firm. Fashola explained that the contract was awarded following an agreement signed with China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) to build the plant.
According to the contract, China’s Export-Import Bank, will provide 85 percent of the funding and Nigeria will contribute the balance 15 percent. Completion of the project is expected in six years. Fashola stated: “The scope of works is very extensive; it requires the construction of four dams. It will involve a lot of preparatory work (and) resettlement. It will also help the country strike a very big blow on the climate change issue.”
But environmental groups have raised concerns about the project. The International Rivers Campaign group wrote on its official site that “many fear that Mambilla will go the way of previous large development projects (including large hydropower projects) where contracts are meted out but projects are never built. If the Mambilla dam project does continue, it could mean disastrous environmental and social impacts for those already living in poverty along the banks of the Benue River.”