Jonathan inaugurates “Light-Up Rural Nigeria” project in Abuja

Goodluck Jonathan

The project is aimed at using renewable energy to get electricity across to rural communities in Nigeria
President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday inaugurated operation “Light-Up Rural Nigeria”, in Durumi community, Bwari Area Council of Abuja with a pledge to ensure constant power supply to Nigerians.

The project is aimed at using renewable energy to get electricity across to rural communities in all the 36 states of the federation, especially communities not connected to the national grid.

“We are starting the year by giving light to our people, especially in the rural communities.

“Operation Light up rural Nigeria has been initiated under the second phase of our power sector reform programme planned for the post privatisation period,’’ he said.

Mr. Jonathan said the initiative was conceived primarily to promote the use of renewable energy, thereby assisting the vision of providing reliable electricity supply to all Nigerians.

He said the project would go a long way in providing clean, cheap and reliable renewable energy that would address some of the challenges of  climate change in the country.

The president said the project would be launched in at least three communities in each of the 36 states of the federation, under the first phase of the programme.

He said that the Federal Government had concluded plans to launch new policies in the first quarter of 2014 that would  support the use renewable energy across the country.

“As part of this initiative, the Federal Government will within the first quarter of 2014 launch new policies to support renewable energy.

“Part of the policies includes the National renewable energy, energy efficiency policy, Rural electrification strategy plan,’’ Mr. Jonathan said.

He said that the Federal Government would continue to provide the right frame work for improved power supply across the country because of its strategic role in national growth and development.

He called on Nigerians to be vigilant and join the Federal Government in curtailing the activities of vandals and saboteurs at the various electricity equipment and facilities.

The inauguration turned into a carnival and was attended by traditional rulers, members of the National Assembly, technocrats and diplomats.

The Minister of Power, Chinedu Nebo, said that the initiative was conceived as a means to boost the delivery of electricity to rural community residents across the country.

Mr. Nebo said, “The first stage, which is the pilot stage, intends to utilise 100 per cent solar energy to power hundreds of communities.

“The second stage will incorporate wind energy as an integrated solution, as soon as our researches on the meteorological and technical specifications vis-a-vis demographics are completed.

“The final stage will include biomass as energy source.”

The Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Minster, Bala Mohammed, extolled the Federal Government’s initiative aimed at overhauling the power sector with a view to promoting growth of rural communities in Nigeria.

Mr. Mohammed described the initiative as a Public Private Partnership arrangement that is capable of harnessing alternative energy sources such as solar, wind, hydro and biomass potentials. He said these are cheap and readily available, saying that, “the role of power in the economic transformation of any community cannot be overemphasised.

“It is generally agreed that one of the dynamic ways to stem rural urban drift and improve life in the rural areas is by providing reliable social amenities.”

“It is on record that land allocation in the area councils has been stalled for nearly 15 years now, but today these have been revived after putting adequate mechanism on ground.”

Mr. Nebo enjoined the area council administrations to leverage on the facilities by providing complementary social amenities to the various communities.

The power minister said that the projects were carried out at Durumi, Shape and Wura communities in Bwari Area Council simultaneously.

Also speaking, Yohanna Ushafa, Chairman of Bwari Area Council, commended the initiative, saying that, “lightening up Nigeria will symbolise remarkable progress in the nation’s building process.

(NAN)