President Muhammadu Buhari will be in South Africa on Thursday to participate in the Forum on China/Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) which would hold in Johannesburg on December 4 and 5.
In a statement, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said that Mr Buhari, at the forum would follow up his meeting with the Chinese Leader Xi Jinping which took place in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in November.
“President Buhari had indicated to Xi Jinping, the Chinese leader at the bilateral meeting in New York, that he wanted China to re-commence stalled rail projects under new terms that would see China providing nearly all the financing required.
“Of particular interest is the coastal railway project stretching for 1402 kilometers linking Lagos in the West with Calabar in the East; a project that is expected to be financed with 12 billion U.S Dollars Chinese loan and which will create about 200,000 jobs.
“Another rail project that will be up for renegotiation is the 8.3 billion Dollars Lagos-Kano standard gauge modernisation project, of which only a segment, Kaduna-Abuja has reached completion stage”, the statement read.
President Buhari is also expected to discuss ways of removing all obstacles in the way of the 3,050 megawatts Mambila Power Station, considered a strategic project which was conceived in 1982 but has not taken off.
Let’s get a background on this project. The Mambilla Power Station is one of Africa’s (and Nigeria’s) biggest dam projects, is a projected hydro power plant which will be connected to three dams across the Donga River in Taraba State, Nigeria
On November 7, 2012 Nigeria signed a memorandum of understanding with China’s Sinohydro Corp. to build Mambilla Power Station. Completion of the project is expected in 2018, and it is expected to multiply Nigeria’s generating capacity considerably.
In December 2013, the Nigerian federal ministry of Power has released a statement that the contract with Sinohydro, has been cancelled, while the ministry is currently working on firming the project cost and that an ongoing discussion has been opened with Chinese EPC firms, interested in providing funding for the project
In reference to that, The Presidency’s statement said “The Chinese President had informed President Buhari of the willingness of his country to finance the whole project through a special loan agreement.
“The President, who will be accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema; Minister of Transportation, Chubuike Amaechi; and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, will return to Abuja on Saturday, December 5”, the statement added.