(Quick News Africa)- The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to build 44 power stations and ensure uninterrupted power supply to 37 federal universities and 7 teaching hospitals.
The initiative aims to utilize off grid captive power plants in a bid to resolve power challenges in institutions of higher learning in the country.
The first phase of the Federal Government’s “energizing education programme” was unveiled on Tuesday, June 20 when REA signed an MoU with eight federal universities and one teaching hospital.
“The first phase will include 9 institutions, and should be completed in 2018, benefitting over 300,000 students and staff,” said Funlola Osinupebi, member of the power sector performance monitoring communications team in the vice president’s office.
Seven of the nine planned power plants, with 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.
“The Federal Government is keen on ensuring that its universities are at par with their international counterparts and recognizes access to power as an essential commodity to achieve this,” said Anita Otubu, REA’s head of special projects.
The programme will also install street lighting to enhance security measures on campuses, develop and operate training centers for student training on renewable energy, and eventually extend this uninterrupted power to improve quality of life and economic opportunities in the surrounding rural communities.
The Eight federal universities and one teaching hospital that signed the MoU with REA are Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi;Bayero University, Kano; Usumanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto; Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi and Nnamdi Azikwe University, Awka.
Others are the University of Lagos, Akoka; Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Delta State; Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife; and Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Osun State.
“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,” said Emmanuel Kucha, vice chancellor, Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi.