Upake community in Ajaokuta local government area of Kogi state has benefited from over 200 million naira 80KWp solar hybrid project initiated by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) and funded by Rural Electrification Fund (REF).
The community an ancestral home of Ebira ethnic group has been in total darkness due to lack of electricity for several decades.
Commissioning the project Monday, the Senate President , Senator Ahmad Lawal , said the multi-million 80KWP Solar Hybrid Mini-Grid was initiated in 2018 and completed within shortest possible time .
The Senate President who was represented by Senator Yakubu Oseni representing Kogi Central Senatorial district, said the Mini-Grid will provide 24 hours uninterrupted power supply to 2,976 people and 38 business outfits in the communities, assuring that the effort will improve the economy of Upake people.
“Electricity is an essential amenity and with the installation of this solar hybrid mini grid, I can see the positive change that will happen in the lives of all the indigenes of Upake.
“Our women will be able to process their cassava in a more efficient and productive manner while our fishermen can preserve their fish now that they have reliable electricity. I believe transformation of a state must begin at the grassroot and no other initiative that can greatly impact lives in our communities than provision of stable power supply” the Senate President said.
While he pleaded for similar projects to be installed in other communities in the district and the state in general, the Senate President appealed to the people of Upake community to take full responsibility of the project in terms of guarding it against vandalization .
“This power plant will serve you, your children and your children’s children if you treat it as your own and protect it. I believe that the developer will train the young people on how to care for the solar panels, they will hire local labour and much more. Please seize this opportunity to change your way of life and serve your community” he advised.
The Managing Director REA , Damilola Ogunbiyi in her address disclosed that the agency was established 14 years ago, adding the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has strengthened the agency to provide electricity to the rural communities.
She appealed to Upake community protect the project, saying in the next 12 months the agency will visit the community to access the level of utilization of the project.