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Ex-minister tackles Obasanjo over Mambilla Power Project

A former Minister of Power and Steel, Olu Agunloye, has accused former President Olusegun Obasanjo of distortion of facts on the multi-billion-dollar Mambilla Hydropower Project.

In a statement, Agunloye said the project was awarded to the Sunrise Power and Transmission Limited by the Obasanjo administration, in 2003 on a Build, Operate and Transfer basis to deliver Nigeria’s biggest power plant with a 3,050 megawatts capacity at no cost to the Nigerian government.

He said the project which had seen decades of legal dispute was to make him a scapegoat by the Nigerian government to escape sanction for abandoning contractual agreements on the project.

He said after his exit from government as a minister in 2003, Obasanjo had changed his mind about the terms of the contract and decided that the Nigerian government should directly fund the project.

The project was, however, terminated in 2008 by President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.

Agunloye said the termination was due to alleged corruption on the part of officials who served under Mr Obasanjo between 2003 and 2007.

“The former president was not correct when he referred to the award to Sunrise simply as a $6 billion contract (that is, N800 billion in 2003) under his watch. In truth, it was a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) contract in which the FGN did not need to pay any amount to the contractor, Messrs Sunrise Power and Transmission Company Limited (Sunrise).

“As a matter of fact, Sunrise has not been paid a single Naira or Dollar by the FGN from 2000 till date (14/9/23). Sunrise was to source for funds and execute the project with own funds. The investment of Sunrise to construct the Mambilla hydroelectric project up to the completion stage to deliver electricity was adjudged at a maximum of $6 billion by four Ministers of Power and the former president (Chief Obasanjo) before I became Minister of Power.”

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