The Vice-President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, GCON, SAN, recently commissioned a 2.8 mega watts installed capacity solar hybrid power project, under the Federal Government’s Energising Education Programme (EEP), at the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike Ikwo, (FUNAI), Ebonyi State.
Speaking at the commissioning, the Vice-President said the EEP was a project aimed to provide conducive learning environment in Nigeria universities in the next four years adding that the project would provide sustainable decentralised energy to the entire campus, improve education and create a better university experience for both staff and students.
He explained that the project would serve 7,700 students and 1,819 staff at FUNAI and help them access clean reliable energy from the University’s 2.8MW Solar hybrid power plant as well as improved quality of Research work in the University.
He said “Our young people are willing to learn and they have great aspirations. It is our duty to aid them to accomplish their goals by providing a conducive learning environment for them. I am glad to be part of this great feat as we commission this 2.8MW decentralized solar hybrid power plant that will supply 7,700 students and 1,819 staff of Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu Alike Ikwo, with clean, reliable and affordable electric power.”
Professor Osinbajo charged Nigerians to embrace the emerging renewable off-grid energy sector, saying it was poised to generate significant impact for the Nigerian market, as well as the un-served, underserved communities and higher institutions of learning.
He stated that with the growing solar generation, there was need for more private sector participation in collaboration with the federal government.
In her speech, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment, Odusote Abimbola noted that the EEP project signified the commitment of the federal government to protecting the environment and reversing the harmful effects of climate change, which was already having devastating effects on the environment.
This achievement, Odusote said, was because government agencies worked by collaborating toward a shared goal of mainstreaming renewable clean energy.
The Chief Executive Officer of Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Mrs. Damilola Ogunbiyi, in her remarks, explained that the EEP was a Federal Government’s intervention programme focused on developing off-grid and dedicated independent power plants.
The programme according to her, would undoubtedly improve the quality of Education, research and health care services at the Federal Universities and Teaching Hospital.
She also stated that towards fulfilling one of the cardinal objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations on gender equality, the project was designed in such a way that women played key roles in the implementation of the project.
She said that the Head of the project was a woman and all female Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Students worked on the project.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Chinedu Nwajiuba appreciated the federal government, REA and all relevant stakeholders for making the project a reality.
The EEP is a federal government initiative under the Rural Electrification Agency aimed at providing an off-grid captive power that was said to be reliable and sustainable across 37 Federal Universities and seven Federal Teaching Hospitals. In addition, the EEP was meant to provide street lighting for illumination and safety as well as serve workshop/training centres for each of the EEP beneficiary institutions.
The Phase one of the EEP cut across nine Federal Universities and one Teaching Hospital located across the six geopolitical zones of the country. The phase one is fully funded by the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) and will train 180 Female STEM students. Within this phase there are seven solar hybrid projects currently benefitting from funding from the Green Bond issued by the FGN.
The phase of the projects was estimated to benefit 127,000 students and 28,000 staff of universities and 4,700 staff in Teaching Hospitals including Doctors, and power 2,850 streetlight.
The Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, mni, MFR, FNAL, was represented at the ceremony by the Deputy Director, Physical Planning Division in the Directorate of Executive Secretary’s Office, Mr. Jide Olukoju.