TEXT OF A PRESS STATEMENT READ AT A MEDIA BRIEFING BY THE HON COMMISSIONER FOR INFORMATION, BARR. DANJUM
A ADAMU ON MARCH 20, 2020, IN JALINGO TARABA STATE
Gentlemen of the Press,
The Taraba State Government is greatly dismayed by the on-going attempt to orchestrate a campaign of falsehood against the person and the Office of the Governor of Taraba State regarding the Mambilla Hydropower Project. A publication in The Nation Newspaper of Wednesday March 18, 2020 titled: Mambilla Hydropower Project Sites Still Fishing Grounds attempted to create the false impression that the project is being delayed by the Taraba State Government. This impression is wrong, misleading and mischievous.
The truth is that Gov Darius Dickson Ishaku, more than any other Nigerian, has campaigned vigorously to get the project off the drawing table where it has gathered dust for several decades. He had also expressed the wish and consistently rallied support of all prominent Nigerians and stakeholders relevant to the project to get it started by the present Federal administration of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari.
It was, therefore, to his greatest joy and happiness that President Buhari decided to make the project a priority of his administration. For this, Gov Ishaku and the people of Taraba State are eternally grateful to Mr President.
You will also recall that as Minister in the Ministry of Power under the Goodluck Jonathan administration, Governor Ishaku had the singular opportunity of re-designing the Dam project and increasing its potential output from 2600MWs to 3050MWs. This was done to ensure that Nigerians and Tarabans, in particular, derive maximum benefit from the project.
Since the Federal Government decided to make the project a priority, Gov Ishaku has taken several steps to aid and facilitate its take-off. These include the hosting of the sensitization meeting of critical stakeholders in Abuja which was highly commended by the Hon Minister for Power, Engr Saleh Mamman. The exercise was meant to remove all bottlenecks against the project, build confidence of the people, particularly the project sites immediate neighbours, so that they can give their full support.
In addition, the Ishaku administration decided to confront and solve one of the most difficult problems facing the project which is that of access to the project site. The Mararaba-Baissa-Abong-Nguroje road which is a Federal road but being presently constructed and funded by the Taraba State Government is a product of Gov Ishakus desire to ensure that there is no obstacle in the way of the Dam project. This is part of the strategic and proactive steps taken by Governor Ishaku in making the projects implementation easier. The state government also rented apartments for use as office and accommodation for the staff of the Federal Ministry of Power which have not been occupied four years after. With this much that the Taraba State Government under Gov Ishakus watch has done, it is callous for anyone to accuse the government and the Governor of delaying the Dam project.
The allegation that Gov Ishaku refused to collect the cheque approved by the Federal Government for the compensation of those to be affected by the project is lie. The money provided is for survey works and not for compensation. We need to state here with emphasis that due diligence is a cardinal philosophy of the administration of the Taraba State Government under Gov Ishaku. That process is being applied to the planned payment of professional fees to the surveyors. The payment of compensation has not started as being erroneously canvassed by the media. A lot of work still needs to be done both by the state and the Federal Ministry of Power before getting to that stage. And there are several milestones to be met. The Governor has directed that this must be thoroughly conducted to avoid complaints and controversies now and in future. The process is still on-going and it is, therefore, wrong to label such an honest effort of government to do a thorough job as delay.
Gov Ishaku, a former Minister of Power, knows more than most Nigerians the benefits of the Mambilla Hydropower project, what it will take to realize it and the need to carry along all the stakeholders on the project. He has always pledged his support any time he had the opportunity to do so for the actualization of the project and he remains irrevocably committed to that promise.
Thank you all
Barr. Danjuma Adamu
Commissioner for Information and Orientation
March 19, 2020