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Mambilla: Tinubu advised to end 14-year FG/Sunrise case

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been advised to end the 14-year-old logjam between the federal government and Sunrise Power and Transmission Company as part of…

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been advised to end the 14-year-old logjam between the federal government and Sunrise Power and Transmission Company as part of his concerted efforts to overhaul and revamp electricity supply across the country.

In April 2003, the federal government awarded a contract for the construction of a 3,960 MW Hydro-Electric Power Plant in Mambilla, Taraba State, to Sunrise Power Transmission Company, a local content partner in consortium with North China Power Group on a 30 – 490 years build, operate and transfer (BOT) basis.

On May 28, 2007, the presidency unilaterally awarded a substantial part of the BOT contract to CGGC/CGC (a foreign consortium) without due process, Sunrise Power to institute Suit No.: FHC/ABJ/CS/384/2007 at the Federal High Court, Abuja, in June 2007, claiming US$960 million in damages against the FGN.

Again, the Ministry of Power under Babatunde Fashola in November 2017, signed a fresh Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) joint venture contract with Sinohydro Corporation of China and CGCOC, but excluded the local partner, Sunrise Power and Transmission Company Limited (SPTCL). These developments attracted lawsuits by Sunrise.

Aside from the stagnation of the project, Nigeria risks losing billions of US dollars.

Legal Luminaries like Femi Falana, Afe Babalola, and Wole Olanipekun – all Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) – had written to the federal government, seeking an amicable settlement of the dispute to enable the 40-year-old project kick-off.

For instance, Chief Olanipekun, in a letter written to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Lateef Fagbemi, urged the minister to carry out a thorough investigation on the matter to take the needed steps, including, but not limited to, the total and global resolution of the matter.

In the letter dated December 7, 2023, the legal luminary urged the federal government to seek an amicable settlement of the matter and negotiate with the firm to resolve the protracted litigation and potential national embarrassment.

The legal luminaries, after apprising the new justice minister with the background of the case, said with documentary evidence and correspondences from FG to Sunrise all submitted to the arbitration court in Paris, it is almost impossible for the government to win against Sunrise.

President of China XI Jinping had sent a delegation to former President Muhammadu Buhari, urging him to settle all disputes – which regrettably failed due to the actions of some interested bureaucrats.

After the federal government signed a settlement agreement, President Buhari and the AGF wrote Sunrise Power to sheathe its sword, saying the COVID-19 pandemic deprived the government of needed resources to settle the agreement at that time.

The legal luminary advised Mr Tinubu to disregard all politicking and deal with the dispute once land for all, saying it was not fair that the case had stagnated the commencement and execution of the Mambilla project for many years despite the debilitating power problem across the country.