Buhari gets standing ovation as he presides over this week FEC meeting

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*Announces cash award to victorious D’Tigress

*Approves $5.7b for construction of 3,050mw Mambilla power project

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday received a standing ovation from members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) at the presidential villa, Abuja.

The President was attending the council meeting for the first time since he returned to Nigeria from London, United Kingdom (UK) after a medical follow-up in that country.

Last week President Buhari cancelled FEC meeting to receive the report of the Prof. Yemi Osinbajo-led presidential investigative panel on alleged corruption cases against the suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Babachir David Lawal and the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ayodele Oke.

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As the President stepped into the council chambers, venue of the meeting, the members clapped in excitement after which he invited the Minister of Communication, Barrister Abdulraheem Adebayo Shittu Adebayo and the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, to say the opening prayers.

Before the Council meeting, President Buhari received the victorious female Nigerian Basketball national team, D’Tigress, who won the 2017 FIBA Women’s AfroBasket tournament in Mali.

In his remarks, the President announced a cash award of N1 million for each of the players and N500,000 for each of the official handlers.

In the meantime, the Federal Executive Council (FEC), presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, had approved $5.792 billion (about N1.140 trillion) for the construction of the 3,050 megawatts Mambilla Hydro-Power project at Gembu in Taraba.

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), disclosed this while addressing State House correspondents alongside the Minister of Labour and Employment as well as the Minister of Sports, on the outcome of the Council’s meeting.

“The memorandum from the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing was to the award of the Mambilla Hydro-Power plant.  I believe that many of you have heard of this project.

“Nigeria started talking about it since 1972; that is about 45 years ago.

“Several efforts had been made to bring it to reality but I’m happy to announce that this government approved the contract today to joint ventures of Chinese Civil and Engineering Company for the engineering and turn-key contract, including civil and electro-mechanical works for 5.792 billion dollars.

“The construction should take about 72 months (6 years),’’ he said.

According to him, the scope of works of the project will include the construction of four dams and 700 kilometres of transmission lines.

The minister said the project, when completed, would boost the nation’s economy as it would unleash the potential that had been reported about Mambilla in the fields of agriculture, tourism and energy.

“It will also help Nigeria strike a very big blow on the climate change issue and fulfill its commitment under the Paris Agreement, because this is going to be renewable energy, coming also at a relatively competitive cost.

Fashola said the project would be jointly financed by the Federal Government and the China Export Import (EXIM) Bank.

EXIM bank will provide 85 per cent of the cost while the Federal Government would provide 15 percent.


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