Committed to providing electricity to unserved and underserved communities in every nook and cranny of Nigeria, the indigenes of Upake community (the ancestral home of Ebira people), in Ajaokuta Local Government Area of Kogi State are set to benefit from clean, safe and reliable electricity access following the installation of an 80 kilowatt (KW) solar hybrid mini grid power plant, which was commissioned Monday.
The first call of the Rural Electrification Fund (REF) will energise 12 communities and deploy 19,000 Solar Home Systems (SHS).
The Federal Government of Nigeria, through its Implementing Agency – Rural Electrification Agency (REA), commissioned the mini grid on Monday amidst hearty cheers by the community. As a result of this project, 496 residential and commercial buildings will be connected and will receive constant electricity henceforth.
In her remarks, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Rural Electrification Agency, Mrs Damilola Ogunbiyi, reiterated the commitment of the Buhari-led administration in fulfilling its mandate to ensure electricity access for Nigerians.
She stated that “more families and businesses in Upake, will have access to clean, sustainable and reliable electricity from the sun. This enhances productivity and provides jobs in Upake.”
Upake community is one of the 12 communities to benefit from the first set of grants under the Rural Electrification Fund which is a Rural Electrification Agency (REA) initiative. Other communities set to commission solar hybrid mini grids in the coming weeks include: Kare, Dadin-Kowa & Tsulaye communities in Kebbi State and Akpabom community in Akwa Ibom State.
In his remarks, the Senator representing Kogi Central, Distinguished Senator Yakubu Oseni, expressed his gratitude on behalf of the members of his constituency, reiterating the benefits that they all stand to enjoy as a result of the project.
He said “Our women will be able to process their Cassava in a less stressful manner and our fishermen can preserve their products now that there is reliable electricity. I believe that the quality of lives in Upake community will be improved because of this project and I look forward to seeing similar projects being installed in other communities under my leadership.”
Following the completion of the project, there is a need to ensure sustainability across board.“I stand here representing the people of our dear community. Just as you assured us of the plans to complete this project from the first day you visited us, I want to assure you that we will work with the developer to make sure that no harm will come to this project. It is our mini grid and we will protect it as our property,” the Community Head (The Ananyiwa of Upake), His Royal Highness, Ibrahim Okenyi Eneye, declared.
As he performed the ceremonial cutting of the ribbon to officially commission the project, the governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, expressed his heartfelt appreciation to the Federal Government, the Rural Electrification Agency and the private developer for their commitment in accomplishing the project.
He stated “the people of Kogi State, will do our best to support this project to ensure greater success and sustainability. Its impact goes beyond improving quality access to stable electricity. It has also provided a total of 32 jobs for our indigenes and will create more during the expansion of this project. We look forward to witnessing the Federal Government replicate similar projects that will improve the quality of life of Nigerians.”
Rendering the vote of thanks, the Executive Director of the Rural Electrification Fund, Dr. Sanusi Ohiare (an indigene of Kogi State), appreciated the Federal Government, the developer, the Board and Management of REA and the Upake community for their support throughout the course of project.
The Nigerian Rural Electrification Agency (REA) is the Implementing Agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria tasked with electrification of unserved and underserved communities. The Rural Electrification Fund (REF) provides equitable access to electricity across Nigeria to maximise the economic, social and environmental benefits of rural electrification grants, to promote off-grid electrification, and to stimulate innovative approaches to rural electrification. REF projects are administered using a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.