… As Abia govt dispels RUGA rumour over Arungwa trailer park
Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The era of epileptic power supply in Aba, the commercial capital of Abia State may soon be over as President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is expected to inaugurate the Geometric Power Plant on February 24.
Geometric Power Plant Aba is owned by a former Minister for Power, Professor Bart Nnaji.
The multi-million dollar project has been jinxed for years following a tussle between the company and the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, EEDC, over who has the right to distribute power in Aba and its environs.
Various efforts by the previous administration and stakeholders to resolve the impasse were unfruitful.
Commissioner for Information, Prince Okey Kanu, who disclosed this at a press briefing in Umuahia, said the flagship generating plant would boost power generation and make business thrive in Aba and its environs.
Meanwhile, Commissioner for Lands and Housing, Mr Chaka Chukwumerije, has refuted speculations in some quarters that the proposed trailer park at Arungwa is a cattle settlement or RUGA, saying that such a speculation is unfounded.
Kanu described the power project as a milestone both for the owners of the power plant, and the State Government.
The Commissioner noted that the State Government had played key role in clearing the bottlenecks that had held down the power plant for years now.
“The State Government has worked assiduously behind the scenes to ensure that the project is realised because when that plant comes on stream, it will benefit our people,” he said.
“This power project has underscored the commitment of the State Government to boost the economic fortunes of the state through the encouragement of private sector investment in infrastructure,” he added.
Continuing, he said: “That project means so much to our people. It will help Aba residents, the business community and environs a great deal because power has been a great challenge to Aba and some parts of the state.”
He recalled the instrumentality of Gov. Alex Otti as the former boss of Diamond Bank actualising the Geometric Power project vision, and described its inauguration under Otti’s watch as Governor as historic.
“Once that plant is commissioned, quite a lot of things will change in Aba business environment. It’s worthy to note that the birthing of Geometric Power Generation Company is somewhat fortuitous. His Excellency, Dr Alex Otti, as the former Managing Director and CEO of defunct Diamond Bank PLC was involved with the Geometric Power Project right from its conception.
“Fortuitously, he is now the Governor of Abia State and is set to oversee the commissioning of the power plant in Aba. Let me stop at this point so that the Governor will better tell the story himself for greater impact.”
On security, the information Commissioner said “efforts are on to enhance security around Umunneochi through the construction of a perimeter fence for the Lokpanta market which will remain operational as a daily market.”
He said there was no going back on the decision which, according to him, is in the best interest of the people.
To improve on the ease of doing business, the Commissioner said that the State Government issued 200 Certificates of Occupancy in the month of January, assuring that the tempo will be sustained.
He further disclosed that renovation of three model schools selected in each of the three senatorial zone are ongoing.
The Commissioner, however, said that Abia State Government had directed Principals and Head teachers of public schools to refrain from renting out their premises for various events.
“It has come to the notice of the State Government that despite repeated charges to them to refrain from doing so, some Principals and Heads of schools still go ahead to do that.
“It causes a lot of distraction to the students and we want to remind those who engage in these unwholesome acts to stop forthwith since the extant laws in this regard will be enforced if they continue to breach that directive.”
“It has also come to the notice of the State Government that some Principals of the private schools that were recently shut down have reopened the schools themselves without meeting the required minimum standards and guidelines set for them. So we are using this opportunity to tell all those who have done so to close those schools or be ready to face the full wrath of the Law.”
Adding her voice, Commissioner for Education, Prof. Uche Eme Uche emphasised that “no school has the right to charge extra fees outside of the fees duly authorised by the State Government.”
She, therefore, encouraged parents to report all such cases to the Ministry of Education.
The Commissioner assured primary school teachers who have salary issues with the previous administration that their challenge would soon be sorted out.
She said that “Government is conducting needs assessment” with a view to employing science teachers and others of key subjects for state schools.
On the proposed Arungwa Trailer Park, the Commissioner for Lands and Housing, said the project was meant to decongest traffic around Osisioma roundabout, Umuika Junction and Owerinta bridge areas as well as generate revenue for the State.
The Commissioner said that contrary to speculations in some quarters, the project has nothing to do with RUGA or cattle ranch.
“It is a standard trailer park, it is not a settlement. It is a place of business,” Chukwumerije said.
Chukwumerije urged the people to embrace the project and stop spreading false rumour aimed at blackmailing Government.