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VON offers REA platform to showcase positive impact on rural electrification


The Voice of Nigeria (VON) has offered its platform to the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) to showcase and narrate its positive impact on communities across the country.

The Director-General of VON, Malam-Jibrin Baba Ndace, gave the offer on Tuesday in Abuja, when he led his management team to a courtesy visit to the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of REA, Malam Abba Aliyu.

Ndace said for the country to move forward, stakeholders must work collectively, adding that as a public sector concern, VON was there to help amplify what others were doing.

“As a public sector concern, we are here to amplify what you do because we are in the age of noise, misinformation, disinformation, and fake news.

“It is time for institutions to be deliberate and intentional in telling their own stories, and there is no better place to do that and amplify them than in VON.

“Since my assumption of duty on Oct. 23, 2023, I have been deliberate and intentional in building on all the legacies of the founding fathers of VON to the last.

“VON broadcasts in eight languages—four local, which include Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, and Fulfulde—and also in four foreign languages: English, French, Arabic, and Swahili.

“I have been in talks with the Chinese and Indonesian governments to start broadcasting in Madarin and other languages,” he explained.

The VON boss also disclosed that he was working with the team to create a positive narrative about Nigeria, Nigerians, Africa, and Africans, as well as about institutions, so as to close the gap about misinformation and disinformation.

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He added that VON was committed to ensuring that all public institutions, including REA, were given the platform to tell their stories.

“So, we have a responsibility to also amplify the renewed hope agenda of President Bola Tinubu in a truthful and believable manner to Nigerians—no pretence, no lie.

“If REA has done something, we will tell the world, and these are things that are verifiable and that people can see, even if they are not complete,” he further said.

Responding, Aliyu appreciated the management of VON for the offer, adding that he could not think of any platform that had given REA such an opportunity to leverage.

“I want to take your offer and tell you that I am an ‘Oliver Twist’. I will take the offer and ask for more until we deliver on our mandate. I greatly appreciate your offer,” he said.

According to the REA boss, the issue of electricity is one of the most challenging in the country.

“In Nigeria at this moment, we have over 85 million Nigerians without electricity, and most of them reside in the areas where it will be very expensive to extend the national grid.

“This is because they live in communities that are sparsely populated or in rural areas where economic activities are not viable and significant.

“So, moving or extending the grid to these areas may not be economically viable.

“Therefore, the best alternative is to provide them with distributed generation resources around these communities.

“That is what REA has been doing to deliver on its mandate; we provide mini-grids to particular communities, solar home systems to areas where mini-grids are not viable, and also grid extensions to where they are needed.”

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He disclosed that the agency also partnered with international organisations, adding that the World Bank Group recently approved an additional $750 million for REA’s intervention through a programme called ‘Distribution Access through Renewable Energy Scale Up.

“The World Bank Group could not have approved such funding without a track record.

“Before then, we implemented so many projects funded by the African Development Bank and the World Bank, and because of that success, we got this additional funding.”(NAN)

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