Federal government’s commitment to providing alternative sources of energy through off-grid plant recently yielded result as Kare-Dadin Kowa in Kebbi State joined a growing solar power community in Nigeria, when a 98.8KW solar hybrid mini grid power plant provided by the FG was inaugurated, writes Sunday Eghiator
The saying that there is a shining light at the end of dark tunnel can be compared to Kare-Dadin Kowa Community in Arewa Local Government Area of Kebbi State when they watched in amazement as they got a new lease of life after staying in darkness for too long. The old ones were very appreciative, the not too young were joyous and the young ones were excited as they lined the street to witness the historic moment in their lives. The traditional troupes’ added merriment as they sang, danced to the admiration of the invited guests. It was indeed a significant moment for a community which has been in darkness for centuries.
Determined not to rest on its oars until the unserved and underserved communities across the country have equitable access to uninterrupted and sustainable power through an off-grid independent power plant, the Buhari administration again fulfilled one of its mandates, when on Tuesday, September 17th 2019, the entire Kebbi State converged on Kare-Dadin Kowa to witness the historic inauguration of a 98.8KW solar hybrid mini grid power plant. Kare-Dadin Kowa is a small riverine community whose major economic activities are agriculture and fishing. The newly inaugurated solar hybrid mini grid plant would provide clean energy to 483 residential buildings, schools, places of worship, health centres, 82 commercial buildings which would also serve over 3,000 inhabitants of Kare-Dadin Kowa community.
Implemented by Rural Electrification Agency (REA) under its Rural Electrification Fund (REF), that strives 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.
The first call of the REF will energise 12 communities and deploy 19,000 Solar Home Systems. REF projects are administered using a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.
Applauding the grassroots oriented administration led by President Buhari, Minister, Federal Ministry of Power, Mr. Saleh Mamman, congratulated all parties involved and stated that his ministry under his leadership was committed to electrifying Nigeria. “Under my leadership, the Ministry of Power will continue to provide requisite policy interventions to ensure that transformative projects like this will have the desired impact of electrifying Nigeria.”
In his remark read by the representative of Governor of Kebbi State and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources and Rural Development, Mr. Aminu Umar, Governor Abubakar Bagudu commended the Buhari administration’s Next Level Road Map in rural electrification and noted that “the solar hybrid mini-grid would expand and transform the economic landscape of Kebbi state. “Small businesses like welders, cold rooms, as well as processing mills can now operate more effectively with reliable and clean electricity as a result of this project. This solar installation has 380 panels that will provide electricity to over 3,000 residents of this community. We are the land of equity and this project is further ensuring the distribution of equitable power to the people of Kebbi State.
“My vision is to industrialise Kebbi, making it an economic business hub. This is why we have focused on the provision of electricity within Kebbi State by partnering and supporting on-grid providers, with new transformers and injection of funds to stabilise and ensure constant power supply to the state.
“This power project’s impact will also be felt in other sectors, in tourism for example. With an available supply of clean energy, commerce and industrial activities will increase in the state. We all aspire for a fully electrified Nigeria and we will achieve this with your continued support and dedication,” he said.
In his address, the representative of managing director of Rural Electrification Agency and Executive Director, Rural Electrification Fund, Dr. Sanusi Ohiare extolled the commitment of federal government by staying true to its words. “Kare-Dadin Kowa community is the second of twelve communities earmarked to benefit from Rural Electrification Fund (REF) grants. The project being commissioned today is implemented by the Rural Electrification Agency, with the goal of providing equitable access to electricity across Nigeria. Today, REA provides electricity to 82 commercial businesses, 482 residences and over 3,180 residents (including women and children). I must state that these are exciting times because history is being made in Kare-Dadin Kowa, Kebbi State and in Nigeria as a whole.
“Not only have the people of Kare-Dadin Kowa been provided with access to stable electricity, but also, this project provided job opportunities for the industrious people of this community in engineering, construction and project management. Thanks to the Federal Government of Nigeria’s Next level Roadmap, more Nigerians can look forward to a Nigerian dream, where access to stable power is no longer dependent on alternative sources of electricity that are harmful to our health and the environment. “
Ohiare expressed his appreciation to the Kare-Dadin Kowa Community for their openness and support, the private sector developer, Nayo Tropical Technology Limited for delivering the project to its full capacity and also his team in the Rural Electrification Agency, particularly to the MD/CEO, Mrs. Damilola Ogunbiyi, for the guidance and tenacity in ensuring that the various initiatives earmarked under the Rural Electrification Fund come to fruition.
Expressing his delight at the initiative which has brought his community out of perpetual darkness, the district head of the community, Alhaji Musa Maina Jantullu said he recognised the significance of the project and delighted to be one of the beneficiary communities. “This community has been in darkness for too long and this is why my subject, my community is grateful to the Federal Government and the people of the Rural Electrification Agency, for counting us worthy to benefit from solar technology. There is no doubt that the electricity will improve the way of life of my people, intellectual ability of our students by having electricity to read. This is an agrarian community which produces the best and largest rice and millet in Nigeria. As a border community, this will, undoubtedly, develop our community. I am elated, my subject is joyous and we promise to protect and sustain it.”
In his goodwill message, by the Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Samaila Muhammed Mera, who was represented by Alhaji Ibrahim Hassan said: “This is especially gratifying for us and our rural communities in Kebbi State. We can now experience what we would normally refer to as ‘the city life’ now that we will have access to reliable and stable electricity. We are a small fishing and agricultural community so this is a major development as new business opportunities in milling, processing, storage and fishery will now become a reality for our industrious people. I appreciate the dedication of the Federal Government of Nigeria in ensuring that Nigerians, irrespective of their geographical locations, can now have access to constant electricity.”
In line with REF’s Public Private Partnership (PPP) model, private sector participation and investment was also critical to the successful implementation of the project. MD/CEO, Nayo Tropical Technology Limited, Anayo Okenwa said that the installed solar hybrid mini grid was constructed in line with international standards and best practice. “As an indigenous firm, we are proud to have leveraged the skills and capacity of our host community, in addition to providing the enabling environment for skilled labour and job creation.”
In his vote of thanks, director, Rural Electrification Fund, Bulus Maiyaki commended President Buhari for working to ensure that Nigerians have increased access to clean and reliable electricity in their homes, businesses and schools. He also gave Kudos to the efforts of the Ministry of Power, the National Assembly and their Committees on Power, in creating an enabling environment for the successful implementation of Rural Electrification Fund projects across Nigeria must be commended.”
Maiyaki acknowledged the outstanding leadership role of MD/CEO of Rural Electrification Agency, Mrs. Damilola Ogunbiyi and Governor Bagudu of Kebbi State for his support, the emirs and district heads for creating enabling environment for the project to be executed, Nayo Tropical Technology Limited for its incredible efforts and professional expertise demonstrated on the project with the state-of-the art installation.