President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday received assurances from the Joint Venture Partners handling the 3050 Megawatts Mambilla Hydro-electric Plant that arrangements had reached advanced staged for the commencement of the project early 2019.
The President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said in a statement in Abuja, that Buhari received the assurance at a meeting with Prof. Lyu Ze Xiang, the President of CGCC, the construction company handling the project, in Beijing, China.
Shehu said the President asked to be briefed on time lines for the commencement of work, following his highly successful meeting with the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping.
The Nigerian President, who likened the Mambilla to China’s Three Gorges Dam, said given the significance of the project to Nigeria’s socio-economic development, there was a need for its speedy completion.
He said: “I am very pleased with the concern you have shown for the significance of this project.
“I would like you to ensure its speedy completion.”
Xiang had earlier informed President Buhari that Nigerian officials and the project consultant would meet in two weeks to address the questions raised by President Xi for more detailed and updated feasibility and sustainability studies.
He said a team had already been set up to work on the financing aspect.
“We fully understand the importance of this project to the economic and social wellbeing of Nigeria. In two weeks, we will sit down with the parties for the economic and sustainability analysis. It would take about four weeks to conclude the update,” he assured.
According to the lead contractor, `pre-commencement work’ will thereafter begin, dealing with access to site and putting in place the necessary support infrastructure such as power, water and transportation.
“Our target is to commence the project early next year,” he told Buhari shortly before the Nigerian leader’s departure at the conclusion of his six-day official trip to China.