Land grabbers threaten N2trn Mambilla power project

A wave of scramble for land on the Mambilla Plateau by speculators is threatening the take-off of the multi-billion dollar Mambilla Hydropower project, Daily Trust investigation has revealed. The 3050 megawatts (MW) Mambilla power project in Taraba State, with a contract cost of N2.1 trillion is yet to begin, over 40 years after it was initiated.

The project was conceived in 1973, but suffered several setbacks with a botched contract awarded in 2007 by then President Olusegun Obasanjo, which was later canceled by late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua. Investigation by Daily Trust revealed that about 10,000 communities, which are to be affected by the project in Sardauna Local Government Area of the state have been waiting for payment of compensation for their lands and their relocation to begin.

Ahead of this, however, land on the Mambilla Plateau has become an attraction to prominent individuals and politicians who are scrambling to buy off large parcels, especially in areas across River Donga, where part of the project is to be domiciled.

It was gathered that land speculators, who include top government officials and party stalwarts have already secured certificates of occupancy for large expanses of land on the Mambilla, even without the consent of landowners in the affected areas where the project is to be sited.

The aim of grabbing large parcels of land, mostly in Nguroje constituency and part of Agbon area in Kurmi Local Government Area of the state, is to make profit of millions of Naira in compensation on the lands needed for the power project, Daily Trust learnt.

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