By Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
Former Minister of Power, Prof Bath Nnaji, yesterday said in Enugu that his company, Geometric Power, was working in partnership with foreign firms to generate 1,140 megawatts in Aba, Abia State to boost power supply to South-east geo-political zone of the country.
Speaking in a forum organised by Igbo Improvement Union, a socio-political pressure group in Enugu, the former minister said the first tranche of the power project, 140 megawatts power plant by Geometic would come on stream in the next six months in Aba courtesy of the intervention of the federal government to untangle the bottleneck that had hindered the project for a long time now.
Nnaji spoke as the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Power, Hon. Dan Asuquo, expressed optimism that the perennial challenges facing the power sector in the country would soon be a thing of the past by the time the tseveral sub-stations presently being reactivated across the country come on stream.
He, however, asked Nigerians to be ready to pay “for steady power because uninterrupted power supply is not cheap.”
Asuquo who spoke when the committee from the National Assembly embarked on inspection tour of Mbalano Sub-Station in Isikwuato Local Government Area of Abia State, among other sub-stations within the South-east zone, also urged stakeholders in the sector and communities hosting NIPP facilities in the country to work together with a view to creating an enabling environment for the execution of projects in the sector.
He asked beneficiaries of the ongoing power projects across the country to desist from demanding outrageous way-leaves and compensations from government and contractors handling projects in the country insisting that it had become imperative for all the hurdles threatening the delivery of uninterrupted power supply in the country to be cleared.
He underscored the need to clear all hurdles that would militate against the smooth delivery of projects being executed by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) whose managing director, Onyeka Uwa, an engineer, was also in the delegation.
But on his part, Nnaji said: “The project, Aba integrated power project (Aba IPP), the issue that held it from coming on stream is being resolved with the full support of the federal government; the Minister of Power, the Permanent Secretary, President, the Vice President; they are working very hard to see that this thing is fully resolved. Once it is resolved, we think that within the next six months Aba should see power.”
He said his company is partnering with General Electric and Orascom of Egypt respectively to build two separate 500 megawatts
power plants in Aba to bring the total to 1,140 megawatts.
Nnaji said he has bought into a renewed campaign to repatriate the wealth of Igbo people scattered in all parts of the world back to Igboland.
He said that part of the effort was the coming together of 70 Igbo billionaires headed by former Managing Director of Diamond Bank, Dr. Pascal Dozie, to come up with a development plan for economic integration of South-east Zone to form the industrial hub of Africa.
According to Nnaji, move to attract Igbo business men home was already yielding results when the Chief Executive of Coscharis Group, Chief Cosmas Maduka, heeded the call by Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, to return home and set up Coscharis Farms, the biggest agricultural endeavour in the zone currently.
In a remark, the coordinator of Igbo Improvement Union, Ugo Agballah, stated that Igbo need to focus more on economic independence than wasting so much time on politics, stressing that Nnaji had spent over $500 million on power projects in South-east, which he said is the largest single investment in the zone.
He said his group would partner Nnaji and his group for the development of the zone.