• Thursday, February 29, 2024
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Geometric will solve energy needs of Aba artisans, manufacturers – Nnaji

Meet Barth Nnaji, mastermind of Nigeria’s only integrated power project in Aba

Barth Nnaji, chairman and chief executive officer of Geometric Power Limited (GPL), promoters of the independent power plant in Aba, Abia State, says that the project was initiated to provide constant power for artisans and other manufacturers in the commercial city and the environment.

Nnaji, a professor and Nigeria’s former minister of power, made this known Thursday, while addressing journalists on tour of the facility.

Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State, has one of the largest concentrations of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria and a bulk of this number are engaged in leather works and garment making, which could be attributed to the popularity of the city.
It is estimated that Aba hosts 110,000 shoemakers and 50,000 garment makers.

The ingenuity of Aba artisans, especially, the garment and leather clusters-comprising of shoe, belt and bag makers, attracted the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) in partnership with the Federal Government, to set up a Common Facility Centre (CFC) in the city, to support the clusters to further develop their skills.

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However power had remained a major setback to small businesses in the area.

But the berthing of Geometric in Aba, would solve the power challenge faced by artisans and other residents of the area, Nnaji promised.

In his words, ” We will fulfill all that we promised to Aba residents. We do what we say we are going to do.

“We are the first independent power generation company in Nigeria. This project is not about money, but about helping artisans in Aba to produce quality goods, create employment and improve livelihoods”.

He explained that the turbines have been refurbished and are back and would be commissioned soon, while work is ongoing on the transmission lines.

Agatha Nnaji, managing director, Geometric Power Limited, explained that the coming of Geometric will propel Aba to be self-sufficient.

According to her, “Today is special to me, because we have found what we are looking for. The ingredient that would propel us to become self-sufficient.

“Igbos are known for their entrepreneurial spirit, so Aba has gone through a tortures part. Our people here have suffered, because of lack of electricity.

“Our chairman (Bart Nnaji), has always maintained that empowerment of the people is what we need to develop as a people, not politics and with that we can be able to survive happily.

She continued, “Today, electricity has become a reality in Aba, through Geometric Power effort and with the help of God, because how we have survived all these years(-from 2003), when this project started, I can’t say.

“I don’t see why Aba cannot remain number-one in Nigeria and Africa, if our people work together.

“So, let’s leave politics and work towards the emancipation of our people and empower them, by making sure that they have reliable power supply. Reliable electricity will enable our people to be more creative”.

She however advised those engaged in energy theft to desist from the act, to enable GPL to serve the people better.

“This is now a private enterprise and so if that stealing continues, the company won’t survive and if the company doesn’t survive, Aba will go back into the worst darkness” she stated.

Ben Caven, managing director, Geometric Power Generation Company, stated that the plant will start generating power in about six months time, as the turbines and transformers have been serviced, while work is ongoing to restore some vandalised powerlines.

He explained that the Aba ring fence area would be disconnected from the national grid as soon as they switched on their plant and promised business operators and other residents of efficient and reliable power.

“There’s every certainty that we will have constant and reliable power supply in Aba.”

Patrick Ume, managing director, Aba Power Electricity Distribution Company, while answering questions from journalists, stated that Geometric Power Limited took over the Aba ring fence area from Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) on February 16, 2022 and also retained their staff, who would be made to imbibe GPL culture.

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He appealed to Aba residents to continue to pay their bills through EEDC established channels.

According to Ume, “You’ll still see some EEDC staff, who will continue to collect bills for us until we prepare our own billing papers. “We are determined to make Aba the Japan of Africa with all stakeholders”, he stated.

GPL are the promoters of the first independent power plant in Nigeria. The company has the licence to generate and distribute electricity in the Aba ring fence area, covering 9 Local Government Areas of Abia State, namely Aba North, Aba South, Ugwunagbo, Osisioma Ngwa, Obingwa, Isiala Ngwa North, Isiala Ngwa South, Ukwa East and Ukwa West.