By ABAH ADAH, Abuja
The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with eight (8) Federal Universities and one Teaching Hospital for the first phase of the Federal Government’s Energizing Education Programme.
The programme aims at lighting up 37 Federal Universities and 7 Teaching Hospitals in Nigeria through the utilisation of off-grid captive power plants in a bid to resolve power challenges in institutions of higher learning in the country.
According to a press statement issued by the information unit of the agency in Abuja, the first phase of the project will include 9 institutions, and should be completed in 2018, benefitting over 300,000 students and staff. Seven of the nine planned power plants (10.5MW out of a total of 26.56MW) will be fuelled by solar energy, in line with the Federal Government’s energy – mix policy.
“The Federal Government is keen on ensuring that its universities are at par with their international counterparts and recognises access to power as an essential commodity to achieve this.” Said Mrs. Anita Otubu, Head of Special Projects, Rural Electrification Agency
“We must on behalf of NUC express our gratitude to REA, the Acting President and the Honorable Minister of Power, Works and Housing for this initiative” said Prof.Abubakar Rasheed, Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission.
“I believe it has the potential to do a lot for the universities. I want to commend the stakeholders for this particular innovation.” said Prof. Abdulrahman Saminu Ibrahim, Vice Chancellor, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi
“We were very excited that at last we may heave a sigh of relief. So, we are happy that this programme may finally take off and our university is part of the programme from the onset” said by Prof. E.I. Kucha, Vice Chancellor Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi
The programme will also install street lighting to enhance security measures on campuses, develop and operate training centers for student training on renewable and eventually, extend this uninterrupted power to improved quality of life and economic opportunities in the surrounding rural communities.
The 8 institutions and 1 Teaching Hospital with whom REA signed the MoU are: Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Bauchi, Bayero University Kano, Usumanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto, Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi, Nnamdi Azikwe University, Anambra, University of Lagos Akoka, Federal University of Petroleum Resources Delta, Obafemi Awolowo University and Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital in Bauchi, Kano, Sokoto, Markurdi, Anambra, Lagos, Delta, and Osun States respectively.