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Natasha calls for expertise prioritisation in Mambilla Power Project

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Senator representing Kogi Central Senatorial District, Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan
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Senator representing Kogi Central, Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan, has urged the federal government to prioritise financial and technical expertise in the construction of the Mambilla Hydroelectric Power Project.

Speaking on a motion sponsored by Senator Manu Ibrahim, Taraba Central, Senator Akpoti-Uduaghan emphasised the need for a thorough investigation into the project’s contracts and litigation history.

“I’m going to support the motion on major concerns. The first is that, injecting 3000 megawatts of electricity into our national grid will greatly boost the epileptic power supply. Secondly, we should start considering energy mix. Hydroelectric power is a form of clean energy that the world is striving to promote, particularly in light of our recent concerns about the adulterated diesel being imported into the country.

“If we are truly concerned about climate change and our environment, then we all need to support this motion in order to explore healthier energy supply options.”

She also stressed the importance of boosting electricity supply and promoting clean energy, while also ensuring that contractors are selected based on merit, technical expertise, and capacity.

“If we must have this project up and running in the specified time, then we should base our selection of contractors’ base on merit. Those that have the capacity must be prioritised, and the companies that have the technical expertise must also be prioritised, there should be no sentiment consideration.

“We need to look into the qualifications of Sunrise, if they have been given the chance over the past years and failed to comply, then we need to look into the bigger players in the industry.

“We are suffering from electricity, while our businesses are suffering, our homes are relying on diesel that is poisoning us because it is adulterated.

“While we are pushing for this project to be considered by Mr President as one of the key projects of his administration, we should also open up an ad-hoc investigation committee into the legality of all the contracts,” she advised.

The Kogi lawmaker further called on the sponsor of the motion to incorporate his earlier prayer to establish an ad-hoc committee to look into the litigation and legality of the contract that has taken place since 1999.

“If you listen to the previous speaker, you can tell that there are concerns that have been raised whether it is the previous or current contract owners.

“As the chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Content, I would say that I have received a few petitions as regards the ownership of the legal tussle around the Mambilla project.

“As we are asking the President to consider this as one of the key projects of this administration, it is also important that we tidy up all ends. Contracts that are not viable should be laid to rest.

“Any arbitration ongoing must be looked into and we should be very mindful not to pacify people just to incorporate them into local content,” she added.

The Mambilla Power Project, which aims to generate 3000 megawatts of electricity, has been delayed for years due to legal issues and contract disputes.

Senator Akpoti-Uduaghan’s call for expertise prioritisation is seen as a crucial step towards reviving the project and addressing Nigeria’s electricity challenges.

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