The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved an engineering contract worth $5.792 billion for the Mambilla Hydro Electric Power Project.
The council, which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, awarded the contract to a Chinese civil engineering firm.
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting.
He said the contract involves civil and electro-mechanical works.
The approval followed a memorandum he submitted to FEC for its consideration and approval on the project which first came to light in 1972.
FEC had initially approved N2 billion in October 2005 as preparatory cost for the project.
Fashola gave the components of the project, saying that it would be implemented in about six years.
He said: “Several efforts have been made to bring it to reality but I’m happy to announce to you that this government approved the award of the contract today to a joint venture with a Chinese civil engineering company for the engineering contract including civil and electro-mechanical works for 5.792 billion dollars.
“The construction should take about 72 months, which is roughly about six years. The scope of works are very extensive.
“It requires the construction of four dams, one of them is a 150 metres in height, intermediate two are 70 metres in height and the smallest of them is 50 metres in height. Just for concept and scope.
“The 150 metres one is essentially the size of a 50 story building, because you have approximately three metres per floor.
“The intermediate one is roughly 20 something story building. It also includes 700 kilometred of transmission line. It will be in Taraba State, in the area called Gengu.
“It will involve a lot of preparatory work, resettlement. It will really unleash the potential that have been reported about Mambilla, agriculture, tourism and also for energy.
“It will also help Nigeria strike a very big blow on the climate change issue and fulfill its commitment under the Paris agreement because this is going to be renewable energy, coming also at a relatively competitive cost. This was approved by council today.”
Meanwhile, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is now head of the federal government’s negotiation team with the striking members of the Academic Staff Union (ASUU) in an attempt to reach a quick agreement with the lecturers.
Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige, who was the head of the team, revealed this during the FEC briefing.
He said: “At council today, the Vice President has taken over some of the aspects of the negotiations and discussions. So, we are continuing the meeting in his office and when we finish meeting, we will get back to ASUU for another round of meeting.
“And we are hopeful that we will be able to go to an appreciable extent to solve some of the outstanding issues that is preventing them from going back to work.”
Ngige thanked parents and students who could not take their examinations because of the strike, promising that government would do everything to end the strike action.
The minister remarked: “Government is leaving no stone unturned to make sure that we reach a conclusive agreement with ASUU so that they can go back to the class room.
“This is the first national strike that thus government is facing and we want to discuss.”
On minimum wage, Ngige said the national minimum wage committee of the government side was ready.
According to him, “We have on the government side four ministers – ministers of labour and employment, finance, budget and planning. I can’t remember the last one now but we have our team ready.
“We also have Head of Service of the Federation, Acting Secretary to the Government on the government team.
“The chairman will be unveiled when we have full component of the committee.
“The aspect that is delaying us from inaugurating the committee is the organized private sector. The organised private sector has eight representatives of which Nigeria Employers Committee Assembly has four nominations.
We have not gotten their nominations. Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, two nominations; their nominations just came in yesterday.
“Nigeria Association of Small Medium Enterprise one, they have not sent in their nomination. NACCIMA have not sent in their nominations.
“So, we are waiting for these nominations, when they come in the government will nominate the chairman and inaugurate the committee.”