We, the concerned citizens, wish to highly commend the present administration for putting in efforts to start rolling the all-important national project, the Mambilla Hydro Power Project (MHEPP), conceived over 40 years ago but unfortunately not implemented by previous administrations. The importance of this critical physical infrastructure project especially to the North East geopolitical zone is well known for its potential to improve electricity generation and, by implication, its industrial potential. The project, if implemented, would contribute immensely to generating employment and curbing youth restiveness.
Some of the other benefits of the MHEPP are harnessing all waters from the plateau, thus minimising the fears that the water resources of the basin would be diverted by another country.
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It will further lead to the setting up of large to medium scale industries particularly downstream of the dam sites as cheap and steady power would be available all the year.
The implementation of the project would be of immense strategic importance to the country in the event of exhaustion in fossil fuel supplies in future.
By taking advantage of large volume of water available, there would be increased livestock and aquaculture production, irrigated agriculture and the development of agro-allied industries besides assured steady and clean water supply to the surrounding villages.
We are aware that funding is one of the main causes of the delay of this important project and would, therefore, present two options other countries employed to fund national water mega projects that are worthy of the government consideration towards funding the MHEPP.
China embarked on the Three Gorges Dam project on its own, by levying its citizens through electricity tariff scheme and by 2018, it successfully completed the largest hydropower project in the world, generating 22,500MW (more than seven times the Mambilla hydropower capacity).
Recently, Egypt embarked on the widening of Suez Canal to accommodate large vessels at the cost of $8b, but instead of seeking external funding, it floated a national development bond with denominations as low as $100 which enabled most Egyptian citizens to subscribe. They succeeded in raising the much-needed funds to undertake the project in 2015.
This gigantic project with huge potential on the nation’s development and growth must not be allowed to stall again. We strongly recommend that the National Assembly in collaboration with the Presidency urgently convene a meeting of all stakeholders to deliberate on the project and find the way forward.
Sir, it is with a sense of patriotism that we are making this submission for quick intervention, and hope that in our humble prayers, will be listened to.
Ambassador Bunu Sherrif Musa, Former Minister of Water Resources, on behalf of 14 other concerned citizens