On the 7th of November 2023, the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) paid a courtesy visit to the Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), Arc Sunday S.T. Echono at the TETFUND Headquarters, Abuja. The REA team was led by Engr. Ahmad Salihijo, the Agency’s MD/CEO; Engr. Barka Sajou, the Executive Director of Technical Services, and Hajiya Sa’adatu Belgore, the Executive Director of the Rural Electrification Fund (REF).
The Energizing Education Programme (EEP) is a special programme of the Federal Government of Nigeria targeted at powering 37 Federal Universities and 7 University Teaching Hospitals, in phases. In the last 4 years, the REA has stayed on course in delivering on the objectives of the programme while providing clean, safe and sustainable energy to thousands of students, staff members and medical personnel of these institutions.
The Agency has equally optimized the power of data and knowledge-driven interactions to eliminate the gaps and challenges encountered at the formative stage of the EEP with a plan to strengthen the sustainability pillars of the programme.
While presenting the EEP progress report to the TETfund team, Engr. Ahmad noted that the Phase 1 of the programme was funded by the first-ever Federal Government Green Bond while Phase 2 and Phase 3, now ongoing, are being funded by the World Bank and the African Development Bank, respectively. While commending the TETfund for its age-long impact on the education sector, the REA MD reemphasized the pivotal role universities play as knowledge and solution hubs while stressing the importance of sustainable energy in tertiary institutions.
The MD explained that while the EEP is a Federal Government programme being implemented by the REA, the beneficiary universities are expected to take ownership of the operation and management of the infrastructure while the REA remains a key stakeholder in the sustainability of the infrastructure. Engr. Ahmad explained that 24 out of the 37 projects are currently procured, completed/ongoing, leaving the agency with 13 in need of funding.
While reiterating the commitment of the Honourable Minister of Education to innovative solutions that enable tertiary institutions to function optimally as solution-focused hubs, Arch. Echono emphasized the pivotal role of sustainable electricity as a key factor for competitiveness in a world where young people are driving transformative change across sectors.
While urging key stakeholders to focus on the “real needs” of the nation’s tertiary institutions, the Executive Secretary explained that the intention behind sustainably powering universities goes beyond energy access for teaching and learning but equally improves revenue generation and cuts down on running costs of diesel-powered generators. He commended the REA for leveraging renewable energy solutions to energize universities through the EEP and assured the Agency of possibilities to collaborate to strengthen the programme and power more institutions across the country.