"I'm Ready to Testify": Obasanjo Finally Speaks on $6bn Mambilla Power Contract

"I'm Ready to Testify": Obasanjo Finally Speaks on $6bn Mambilla Power Contract

  • Ex-President Obasanjo has denied approving the controversial $6 billion contract with Sunrise Power and Transmission Ltd for the Mambilla Hydropower Project in 2003
  • Obasanjo challenged Olu Agunloye, the former minister of power and steel, to explain his authority for awarding the contract
  • The former president added that ministers under his leadership could not approve more than N25 million without presidential consent

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Abeokuta, Ogun state - Nigeria's former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, says he never approved the award of the controversial $6 billion contract to Sunrise Power and Transmission Ltd regarding the Mambilla Hydropower Project in 2003.

Obasanjo said this in an interview excerpt published by TheCable on Sunday, September 3.

Obasanjo/Tinubu/Mambilla Power/Olu Agunloye
Former President Obasanjo said he never approved the $6bn Mambilla power contract. Photo credit: Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu
Source: Facebook

Legit.ng gathers that the former president challenged Olu Agunloye, the former minister of power and steel, to tell Nigerians where he derived the authority to award the $6 billion contract.

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Ministers under me could not approve beyond N25m - Obasanjo

Denying that he authorised Agunloye to commit Nigeria to the $6 billion contract, Obasanjo said no minister under him had the power to approve funds beyond N25 million.

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“When I was president, no minister had the power to approve more than N25 million without express presidential consent. It was impossible for Agunloye to commit my government to a $6 billion project without my permission and I did not give him any permission,” Obasanjo was quoted as saying.

Mambilla power: I am ready to testify, says Obasanjo

Obasanjo who challenged Agunloye to explain where he got the power and authority to award the contract said he is ready to testify if the current Bola Tinubu-led government sets up a commission of inquiry.

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His words:

“If a commission of inquiry is set up today to investigate the matter, I am ready to testify. I do not even need to testify because all the records are there. I never approved it."

The former president said he was surprised that Agunloye presented a memo for the $6 billion contract despite being advised against it.

He added that he would have sacked the former minister if he had known about it.

Obasanjo also revealed that Leno Adesanya, the promoter of Sunrise Power, fled Nigeria during his presidency.

He said he would have imprisoned him if he had remained in the country.

Mambilla power: Where is Olu Agunloye

Agunloye and some officials of the Ministry of Justice reportedly involved in the country have been quizzed.

According to TheCable, the indicted officials may soon be charged to court by the Nigerian government.

Mambilla power contract dispute: What you should know

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Sunrise Power is engaged in two arbitrations with Nigeria at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris, seeking $2.3 billion in compensation for a contract breach and another $400 million as part of a settlement reached in 2020.

Nigeria is contesting these claims, asserting that the contract awarded by Agunloye, who did so shortly before the end of his tenure as power minister in 2003, was done unlawfully.

In 2020, the federal government had tried to resolve the arbitration by offering $200 million in compensation to kickstart the project, but it was reportedly halted due to insufficient funds.

What is the Mambilla Hydropower Project

Mambilla hydropower project is a 3.05GW hydroelectric facility being developed on the Dongo River near Baruf, in Kakara Village of Taraba state, Nigeria.

The project is expected to commence operation in 2030. If executed, Mambilla will be Nigeria’s biggest power plant, producing approximately 4.7 billion kWh of electricity a year.

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Mambilla Hydropower Project: Tinubu's promise

In the buildup to the 2023 elections, President Bola Tinubu listed the Mambilla Hydropower Project as one of the projects he aims to focus on.

“We will invest in the Kolmani Oil Wells Project inaugurated by President Buhari and indeed in all vital infrastructural projects such as the Mambilla Power Project, the AKK gas pipeline projects," he said.

Source: Legit.ng

Authors:
Nurudeen Lawal avatar

Nurudeen Lawal (Head of Politics and Current Affairs Desk) Nurudeen Lawal is an AFP-certified journalist with a wealth of experience spanning over 8 years. He received his B/Arts degree in Literature-in-English from OAU. Lawal is the Head of the Politics/CA Desk at Legit.ng, where he applies his expertise to provide incisive coverage of events. He was named the Political Desk Head of the Year (Nigeria Media Nite-Out Award 2023). He is also a certified fact-checker (Dubawa fellowship, 2020). Contact him at lawal.nurudeen@corp.legit.ng or +2347057737768.

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