By Gabriel Ewepu
ABUJA- EIGHT Federal Universities are to enjoy uninterrupted power supply from off grid captive power plants, following a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, signed with the Rural Electrification Agency, REA.
The eight Federal Universities and one Teaching Hospital that signed the MoU with the REA include Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, Bayero University, Kano, Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Nnamdi Azikwe University, Awka, University of Lagos, Akoka, Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, and Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Ile Ife.
The MoU signed by the universities and REA comes under the Federal Government’s first phase of Energizing Education Programme, EEP, which targets nine institutions, and the projects will be completed in 2018, and over 300, 000 students and staff are expected to have access to uninterrupted power supply.
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.
According to REA the programme aims to provide uninterrupted power supply for 37 Federal Universities and seven Teaching Hospitals in the country through the utilisation of off grid captive power plants in a bid to resolve power challenges in institutions of higher learning, and also to add value to staff and students’ performance and productivity.
It further stated that the programme will also install street lighting to enhance security measures on campuses, develop and operate training centres for student training on renewable and eventually, extend this uninterrupted power to improve quality of life and economic opportunities in the surrounding rural communities.
Speaking after signing of the MoU, the Head of Special Projects, REA, Mrs Anita Otubu, said government has resolved to ensure federal universities and other institutions are at par or ahead of others across the world.
Otubu said: “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.”
In his remarks Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, NUC, Prof Abubakar Rasheed, expressed gratitude over the initiative by the government.
“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”, Rasheed said.
In the same vein Vice Chancellors of benefitting universities also expressed joy over the innovation and move by the government to end many years of power problems in their campuses and said the universities would be placed again on the path of high academic performance and excellence.
The Vice Chancellor, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, Prof Abdulrahman Saminu Ibrahim said, “I believe it has the potential to do a lot for the universities. I want to commend the stakeholders for this particular innovation.”
The Vice Chancellor, University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Prof Emmanuel Kucha, “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.”