Jalingo – Residents of Taraba have commended the Federal Government for approving 5 billion dollars for the building of a Hydro Power Plant in Mambilla.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the project was approved at the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 30.
The project, which was initiated in 1972, has a targeted capacity to generate 3,050 megawatts, using rivers located in Donga and Gembu.
Taraba residents, who expressed happiness that the project had been approved after 45 years, told NAN in Jalingo that it would usher in massive development to the area and Taraba State.
Ali Adamu also, a journalist, said that the approval was a dream come true, adding that it would rejuvenate economic activities and create jobs in the area.
“It is a multi-billion dollar project which is expected to last for six years; massive labour will be required and that will create jobs for the people.
“There will also be massive infrastructural development as heavy equipment will be moved in; that should be good news to hotels and eateries. It also means that security must be upgraded to meet challenges,” he said.
He also urged people in the area to reciprocate the gesture by cooperating with government at all levels and living in peace with one another, so as to benefit from the project.
Livinus Ayih, a lecturer with Taraba State University, Jalingo, also commended the approval of the project.
He, however, expressed concern that successive regimes, since 1999 , had mobilised various contractors to the site, only for them to disappear after sometime, leaving the job undone.
Ayih said he was confident that the present administration would execute the project effectively.
He said that the people of Mambilla were ready and willing to even relocate from their settlements, to pave way for the full take-off of the project.
Alhaji Hassan Ardo, Nigeria’s Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, who also spoke on the project, said that it was the first time that the Federal Government had shown a genuine commitment to the project by approving it, after 40 years.
The Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Mr James Gani, on his part, said that the project would boost tourism and electricity supply in the state.
“I think it is a very exciting development. We believe it will create job opportunities, especially in the tourism sector.
“It will provide roads, electricity and more patronage to hotel owners.
“The plant itself is a tourist attraction. We are all very happy over the project,” Gani said.
Sen. Abubakar Yusuf, who represents Taraba Central, said that the project was a dream come true for the people of the Mambilla Plateau, Taraba State and Nigeria.
Yusuf called on residents of the Mambilla Plateau to put aside the recent crisis and unite in supporting government to execute the project to fruition, and commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the bold step.
He also commended the National Assembly, Gov Darius Ishaku and many others who contributed in one way or the other toward ensuring the approval of the project.
The Senior Special Assistant (Media and Publicity) to Gov. Darius Ishaku, Mr Emmanuel Bello, said that the project would improve the living conditions of people on the Mambilla Plateau.
He called on the people to cooperate with the construction workers, and expressed government’s readiness to support the project “in any way necessary”.(NAN)