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Why Abia Geometric Power Project Took 20 Years – Gov Otti

The power plant which was described as the first integrated electricity facility in Nigeria is located in the Osisioma industrial hub of Aba in Abia.


A file photo of the Governor of Abia State Alex Otti

 

Governor Alex Otti of Abia State has explained that a number of things contributed to the delay of the 181-megawatt geometric power plant in the Aba area of the state.

“This is a project that was started in 2004” during the administration of Governor Orji Uzor Kalu, Otti of the Labour Party said on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme on Thursday.

 

 

The $800 million project including the building 27km natural gas pipeline, championed by Geometrics Power Limited, has the capacity to generate and distribute 181 megawatts of power.

A new electricity distribution company, the Aba Power Limited Electric, has started taking electricity from the plant and supplying it to about nine of the 17 local government areas in the South-East state.

On Monday, Vice President Kashim Shettima inaugurated the geometric power plant in Aba, the industrial hub of the state.

The power plant which was described as the first integrated electricity facility in Nigeria is located in the Osisioma industrial hub of Aba in Abia.

Giving a background to the delay in the project, Otti, a former bank chief, said sometimes in 2010, the founder of Geometrics Power Limited and ex-Minister for Science and Technology, Bart Nnaji approached him as an Executive Director of First Bank to appeal that the former bank that was funding the project had stopped it mid-way owing to the global economic crisis.

He said, “We processed an $85m facility for him (Nnaji) but unfortunately, he couldn’t draw down on that facility because the board of the bank felt that because I was proceeding to Diamond Bank as CEO, it won’t make any sense to allow the country to withdraw the facility when the person that was going to manage it was not there.

“I headed to Diamond Bank which actually was the bank that was initially funding the project. On getting to Diamond Bank, we restructured the facility and saw it to completion by October 2014, the time I left Diamond Bank.

“But a lot of things happened thereafter that made it impossible for the project to take off. There was the unfortunate sale and resale of the Aba Invest Island and that took a life of its own.

“When that was resolves, Shell which owned the major oil block that was supposed to supply gas to Geometric has sold it to another company whose focus was not gas for domestic use but export

“By the time we took over on the 29th of May, we sat down with Geometric a few times and engaged with NNPC and NNPC deployed their partners and gas was made available.”

The governor said the plant currently supply 141 megawatts power, the capacity at this time, is expandable to 181 megawatts when the final turbine is delivered.

According to him, the third turbine of the plant has been fired and all the three turbines are operational and “power outage will the exception rather than the rule which is the situation at this time”.

Otti said it would be difficult to say that his predecessor, Okezie Ikpeazu played a role in the project, adding that there was no evidence that the Abia State Government has an equity in the plant. “I have set up a team to dig into the facts,” he said.