Has FGN lost to SPTCL again?

It seems the Federal Government of Nigeria, FGN, has lost to Sunrise Power Transmission yet again at the International Court of Arbitration, ICC, and exposed to over $500m in damages.

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubarkar Malami SAN CON had on November 11, 2021, celebrated on national television confirming that Sunrise Power Transmission Company of Nigeria Ltd (SPTCL) has withdrawn its case against the federal government, opening the way for the commencement of the Mambilla Power Project.

The federal government had in 2003 signed a contract to construct the Taraba-based Mambilla Power Project with Sunrise Power and Transmission Company Limited on a Build, Operate and Transfer, BOT, arrangement.

The federal government afterwards awarded the Civil Works component of the Mambilla Project to a consortium of Chinese companies, led by China Gezhouba Group.

Consequently, Sunrise sued the Federal Republic of Nigeria and and Sinohydro Corporation Limited at the ICA in Paris, France for contract breach.

Sunrise sought before the court a compensation of $960m for the breach.
The project which was awarded to the company in Taraba state was expected to be Nigeria’s biggest plant with 3,050 megawatts. But the litigation had stalled the project for years.

The attorney general said, “For Sunrise, perhaps one good information or perhaps that calls for celebration that I wish to present for your consideration is the fact that Sunrise has indeed withdrawn its pending arbitral proceedings in respect of which it was claiming against the interest of the federal government for an amount within the region of around $1b”.

Unfortunately and surprisingly some elements either as a way of delay tactics or influenced by detractors influenced recent fictitious allegations against Sunrise Transmission Power Company, making claims that have been kicked out by the ICC.

Intelligence has it that Sunrise Power Transmission Company has a long history of commitment to the project, has the Chinese government solidly behind and international lawyers with a high rate of successful cases.

Experts have advised on the critical decentralization of the national grid and focus on renewable and other sources of energy especially hydro power to end the epileptic power challenges in the nation.

The Mambila hydro project is projected to be Africa’s largest dam with an output capacity of over 3,050 megawatts of electricity. The MHP promises over 50,000 skilled and unskilled jobs, short and long term economic spillovers.

Till date, President Muhammedu Buhari is the only siting president who has given this project some level of hope and alongside the Attorney general and minister of justice, minister water resources, minister of finance, minister of power governor Taraba state governor and chief of staff.

Many who have spoken, attest to the fact that, Chairman Sunrise Power Transmission Company, Leno Adesanya, is a patriotic Nigerian who is well over 60 years of age and more desirous of seeing the absolute success of this project.

Should FGN take the bull by the horn by reaching a formidable consensus or pass on the baggage to the next administration? Would President Buhari GRFR get to the bottom of this viable project and fulfill his promise to the North-east region and energy sector or turn the blind eye …?

Dr Haman Ali,
Mambilla, Taraba state