by Christiana Gokyo, Jos
The Plateau State Governor Simon Bako Lalong has advocated for the lighting of more rural communities in the State through the deployment of Solar Mini Grid system.
The governor, who visited the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) in Abuja to meet with the agency’s Managing Director, Engr. Ahmad Salihijo and his management team, commended the agency for carrying out the 234 KWp Shemankar Solar Mini Grid that has become a successful venture lighting up communities and improving the lives of the people.
He said his visit to the REA was to make another passionate appeal for a Solar Mini-Grid Deployment to Ajikamai, the community hosting the newly established Federal Polytechnic N’yak, in Shendam LGA of Plateau State, adding, “As the new polytechnic takes off, power is a major challenge, because currently, the area is not connected to the national grid.”
The governor appealed for urgent intervention, noting that, “Specifically, we shall appreciate, if the REA program through the World Bank/Central Bank CARES initiative can be extended to the newly established Plateau State Energy Corporation as a means to enable the State Government’s desire to deliver power to the Polytechnic and surrounding communities through the off-grid energy approach.”
According to him, Plateau State energy sector is undergoing reforms with the establishment of the State Energy Corporation, which is being positioned for synergy and policy implementation, and craved the assistance of REA in equipment supply and technical capacity building for the new corporation.
While presenting other requests to the Managing Director of the REA, the governor urged the agency to partner with the Plateau State Government in expanding NESCO’S power generation capacity, both in the existing hydro or exploring other renewable.
Responding, Managing Director of REA, Engr. Ahmad Salihijo, appreciated the governor for the visit and assured him that the agency will be captured under various programmes that are ongoing.
He cited the interventions that will soon be done in 3 markets in Jos, namely: Building Materials, Rukuba Market and Katako, while other initiatives that the State is expected to benefit from are the Solar Power Naija program, which has five communities.
Engr. Salihijo added that, others already implemented are the 5KW Health Centres project in five primary healthcare centres in the State under COVID-19, and appealed to the governor to nominate a State focal person that will liaise with the REA in carrying out some of the requests presented to the agency.