Why Abuja’s First Municipal Biogas Plant Project is Stalled

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Chineme Okafor in Abuja
Plans by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to build a modern low carbon biogas plant to power activities at its abattoir in the Karu area of Abuja, have not progressed, six months after it was flagged off because of bureaucracies, THISDAY has learnt.

THISDAY gathered that the construction of the biogas plant, which could become the first municipal-owned modern low carbon biogas plant in Nigeria has largely stalled on account of its promoters been unable to get supporting letter from the FCTA to enable it attract the needed funds for the plant.
The development, the paper learnt, has kept the promoters from moving on negotiation to achieve financial closure for the construction to commence.

In the last quarter of 2017, the FCTA launched the initiative at the Karu Abattoir, in collaboration with a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), African Environment Action Network (EANet-Africa).
During the project flag-off ceremony, the Secretary of FCT Agricultural and Rural Development Secretariat (ARDS), Stanley Nzekwe, indicated the biogas plant was overdue, given the escalating waste generated by users of the abattoir.

Nzekwe had stated that the waste was a challenge to the environment of the FCTA which had resolved to pursue a sustainable solution to the challenge using the low carbon biogas plant.
He also promised that within a six months’ timeline, starting from December 2017, the facility would be ready for commissioning and use.

Nzekwe had equally noted that the FCTA will not relent in its partnership with EANet-Africa with the provision of an enabling environment for the project to take off and get completed for use.
Also at the flag-off, the Founder, EANet-Africa, Dr. Victor Fadele, explained the project was planned to be funded with supports from international partners.

Fadele had noted that when completed, the plant would be able to provide electricity to more than 150 households within the abattoir area. He added that degradable waste materials would be converted in the facility to help reduce the pressure on the environment.

However, THISDAY’s checks revealed that nothing has been done at the site earmarked for it.
When the paper visited the abattoir, its operators and users said nothing had happened at the site since the flagged off in 2017.

When the paper contacted Fadele, to know why nothing has happened at the site since it was flagged off, he explained that the FCTA has not given it an authorisation letter that would enable it conclude its negotiations with its international partners and funders.

“We are (an) NGO. We don’t have the funding but we have the technology, the knowhow and every other thing but not money. We have gotten in touch with some of our international funders and we are still waiting for them because they take their time to do their background checks and everything they need to do but we are really waiting,” said Fadele.

He further explained: “For them to believe us on what we are doing, it is necessary to have the FCDA give us a formal letter to reach out to them. We are still waiting for that letter. That is the fact, without the partnering organisation giving you a letter they won’t believe you. So, there is a waiting time, we want the FCDA to actually give us that letter that they are actually partnering with us. That is what we are still waiting for.”

Asked if he was optimistic the letter would come from the government, Fadele said he was hopeful it would, adding that the project was too important to be ignored by the government.