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Why I located $800m Geometric Power Plant in Aba – Nnaji

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Professor Bart Nnaji
Prof Barth Nnaji
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THE Chairman of Geometric Power Group, Professor Barth Nnaji, has explained that his passion to contribute to industrial development in Igbo land in a manner that would accelerate rapid development of Nigeria was the major influence behind the decision to locate the Geometric Power Plant in Aba.

Nnaji, who was Nigeria’s former Minister of Power, disclosed this at the leadership colloquium on, “Igbo Leadership and Development,” that was convened recently.

He said: “I am passionate about the rapid development of Nigeria, starting with Ala Igbo because of the structural problems it has faced since the end of the Nigerian Civil War in 1970 and also because of its enormous technological and economic potential.

“Geometric Power Limited is making its contribution to help reclaim the old economic days of the Great Zik of Africa, Dr. M.I. Okpara and many others. Once Geometric Power addresses the electricity challenge in nine out of 17 local government areas in Abia State fully, not even the sky will be the limit of the attainments of the people and government of Abia State. Abia can set the stage of development miracle which has been waiting to happen.”

The professor of Manufacturing Engineering, further disclosed that the 188-megawatt Geometric Power Plant in Aba and the Aba Power distribution firm in Osisioma Industrial Layout would have been more profitable venture if they had been located in Ikeja or in the Ilupeju the Industrial Estate in Lagos State or in the Agbara Industrial Layout in Ogun State or in or around the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja.

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Nnaji said: “The return of investment would have been quicker and bigger (in these locations). But the strategic reason for locating both the generation and distribution arms of Geometric Power Group would have been missed. Only the investors and promoters of Geometric Power would have benefitted directly, but the people and governments of Ala-Igbo would be the losers.”

He also said locating the project in any of the aforementioned locations would have saved the Geometric Group the experience of a tortious ten-year tussle over the right ownership of the Aba-Ringed Fence Area, which took a toll on the financiers of the $800 million project, the investors, the host community, suppliers, contractors, the Aba business community and the people and government of Abia State.

Nnaji traced the history of the Aba power plant to when former Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, invited a former President of the World Bank, late Dr. James Wolfohnson, to Aba to see, firsthand, Aba’s tremendous economic and technological potential.

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“After the visit in 2004, I was asked by the duo to consider building a 50 megawatt power plant in Abia for manufacturers, both big ones like the Star Paper Mill and small ones like the hundreds of excellent shoemakers and clothiers at the famous Ariaria Market.

“They approached me obviously because I had led a small team of dedicated Nigerian engineers and entrepreneurs to build a 22megawatt Emergency Plant in Abuja in 2001 for the supply of electricity to State House, the NNPC headquarters, the Abuja Business District and other places.

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“I acceded to the request by Dr. Okonjo-Iweala and Dr. Wolfohnson. What the two did not realise is that my enthusiastic acceptance was because the plant would be located in Aba. This city has a special place in the heart and mind of every person interested in our country’s rapid progress: It is the home of indigenous manufacturing, innovation and entrepreneurship.

“There is another reason why I accepted to build the plant in Aba. I had experienced, firsthand, what industrialists in Igbo land were going through.

“As a professor of manufacturing engineering in the United States in the 1990s, I decided to build a plant in Emene, Enugu, to produce vehicle spare parts, including engines, of the highest standard in the world. After all, I had watched my former students from Taiwan and other places in Southeast Asia rush home to produce sophisticated auto parts and engines.

“So, a large swath of land was purchased for this purpose, but when my South Korean partners visited Enugu, it became obvious that the project would not take off principally because of poor electricity. It was while I was thinking of how to help resolve the electricity problem in Ala Igbo that Dr. Okonjo-Iweala and Dr. Wolfohnson made the request. The rest is history,” Nnaji said.

Yet, the proprietor of the Geometric Group, said: “I must add that it has since 2004 been tears, sweat and blood, to borrow the words of late Mr. Winston Churchill, the former British prime minister.

“I don’t want to tell the story of sweat, blood and tears now; all I can say this moment is the game is worth the candle. Nothing can give as much fulfillment and satisfaction as working wholeheartedly for your people.

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‘It took the Nnewi people quite a lot when they decided to develop their hometown themselves. Even without basic infrastructure like roads, electricity and telephone services, the Nnewi people decided to take their destiny in their hands after the Nigerian Civil War,” he added.

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Peter Obi should be held responsible for anarchy arising from August 1 hunger protest – Presidency

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Bayo Onanuga
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Bayo Onanuga, a senior to President Bola Tinubu, has alleged that supporters Mr Peter Obi, former presidential candidate of the Labour Party, LP, are planning mayhem in Nigeria.

Onanuga claimed that the proposed nationwide protests were being planned by Obi’s supporters, whom he described as failed presidential candidate.

According to him, Obi should be held responsible for whatever crisis that would emanate from the action.

In a post on his X handle on Saturday, Onanuga said the proposed protest planners are also the same people who were instigated by the incarcerated IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu to launch the destructive ENDSARS protest in Nigeria in October 2020.

He wrote: “REVEALED: Peter Obi’s supporters are the people planning mayhem in Nigeria: Obi should be held responsible for anarchy

“Don’t be fooled: the malcontents planning to stage nationwide protests are supporters of Peter Obi, the failed presidential candidate of the Labour Party. And he should be held responsible for whatever crisis emanates from the action.

“The protest planners are also the same people who were instigated by IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu to launch the destructive ENDSARS protest in Nigeria in October 2020. ENDSARS began as a genuine protest by youths against the Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad, notorious for its high-handedness. IPOB members planning to extricate the South East region from Nigeria infiltrated the protest and hijacked it for their own agenda. Lagos still bears the scar of the malicious destruction by IPOB elements until today.

“Two years after ENDSARS, the IPOB and the gullible innocents joined the Labour Party in 2022 to support Peter Obi, a sympathiser of their cause.

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They are the people spreading the hashtags ‘EndBadGovernance’, ‘Tinubu Must Go,’ and ‘Revolution2024’. They are not democrats but anarchists. They are attempting to call out our people via propaganda because their Messiah, Peter Obi, failed to win the Presidency in the 2023 election. As bad losers, they don’t have the patience to wait for another election in 2027; they would rather destabilise Nigeria by staging a civilian coup against President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

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Two brothers drown in FCT River

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Two brothers drown in FCT River
•The river behind the village
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Two brothers, Joshua and Samson, have drowned in a river in Robukya community in Kwali Ward in Kuje Area Council of the FCT.

A relation of the deceased, Musa Abednego, who confirmed the incident to our reporter on Thursday, said it happened on Tuesday around 9am while they were crossing the river.

He said the brothers, Joshua and Samson, were between the ages of nine and 12 and that they were on their way to the farm when the incident happened.

He explained that the victims got drowned following a heavy rainfall which made the river to overflow.

He said, “Their father asked them to hold on after the rain subsided. Unfortunately, they left home to the farm without him knowing.”

Abednego said their corpses were recovered on Wednesday around 4pm through the help of some fishermen, adding they had been buried.

The spokeswoman of the FCT Police Command, SP Josephine Adeh, was yet to speak on the incident.                                              Daily Trust

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CBN intervenes in foreign exchange market

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CBN intervenes in foreign exchange market
Central Bank of Nigeria
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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has started selling foreign exchange on a regular basis through Authorised Dealer Banks and licensed Bureaux De Change (BDCs) as a response to the current fluctuations in the foreign exchange market.

These fluctuations are primarily caused by the demand pressure coming from corporate entities and the seasonal increase typical during the summer period.

By implementing regular sales of foreign exchange, the CBN aims to stabilise the market and ensure smoother transactions for both businesses and individuals involved in foreign exchange activities.

Director, Financial Markets Department of the CBN Dr Omolara Omotunde Duke in a statement on Friday night assured the public of the bank’s commitment to address the demand pressure and stabilize the foreign exchange market.

Highlighting recent transactions, the CBN disclosed that it sold a total sum of US$106,500,000.00 to 29 authorized dealer banks on Thursday, July 18 and Friday, July 19, 2024.

These transactions took place within an exchange rate range of N1,498.00/US$1 to N1,530.00/US$1. Additionally, the CBN purchased US$9,500,000 (Nine Million and Five Hundred Thousand Dollars) from four authorized dealer banks at rates between N1,510.00/US$1 and N1,550.00/US$1. All these transactions are marked for settlement on July 19, 2024.

The Central Bank also stated its commitment to closely monitor compliance with existing trading rules and regulations by authorized dealer banks. This is seen as an effort to promote ethical conduct and ensure stability in the foreign exchange market.

The general public was also advised to direct their foreign exchange demands to their respective banks and BDC operators, adhering to prevailing market regulations.

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With the regular sale of foreign exchange and ongoing monitoring of trading practices, the CBN aims to meet demand pressure, foster stability, and sustain a well-functioning foreign exchange market.

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