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Abia enjoys 24 hours power supply but the project took 20 years, here's why

The Minister of Power has called on other states to play their part to bolster the country's power distribution and supply.

Abia enjoys 24 hours power supply but the project took 20 years, here's why

On Monday, February 26, 2024, Vice President Kashim Shettima inaugurated the 181-megawatt power plant, located in the Osisioma industrial hub of Aba, the state capital.

Championed by by Geometrics Power Limited, the $800 million project, including the building 27KM natural gas pipeline, can generate and distribute 181 megawatts of power.

A new electricity distribution company, Aba Power Limited Electric, has since started drawing power from the plant and supplying it to Aba residents, spread across nine out of the 17 local government areas in the state.

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However, this development comes two decades after the project commenced during the administration of Governor Orji Uzor Kalu.

Speaking on Channels Television's 'Politics Today' on Thursday, February 29, 2024, Governor Alex Otti lifted the lid on why it took 20 years for the power plant to get off the ground.

The former bank chief recalled how the founder of Geometrics Power Limited and ex-Minister for Science and Technology, Bart Nnaji, approached him as an Executive Director of First Bank sometime in 2010 regarding the project.

According to Otti, Nnaji said that the former bank that was funding the project had stopped it mid-way owing to the global economic crisis.

“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," the Governor stated.

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Continuing, 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 resolved, Shell which owned the major oil block that was supposed to supply gas to Geometric 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,” he stated.

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The Governor disclosed that the plant can supply 141 megawatts of power as of now but will be expanded to 181 megawatts when the final turbine is delivered.

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