From Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has commended the Netherlands Embassy in Nigeria for providing a solar mini-grid for an uninterrupted power supply to Kalaba Community in Bayelsa State.
In a press statement issued in Benin City on the project, ERA/FoEN said it implemented the project with technical support from the Community Research and Development Centre (CREDC) in the establishment of the project.
According to the statement, ‘the 8.5 kW power project was completed and commissioned recently by a representative of Dr Godwin Uyi Ojo, Executive Director of the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), Barrister Nosa Tokunbor.
‘The solar mini-grid station has been channelled to supply electricity to houses in the community, the resuscitated borehole that was hitherto dysfunctional, provision of pumping machine powered by solar, and extension of solar light to the Community Health Centre.
‘Over 30 households and a population of about 3,000 people are benefitting from the Photovoltaic systems as well as the Community Health Centre, water supply and solar lights receiving power supply from the solar mini-grid.’
Uyi-Ojo however charged the beneficiaries to jealously protect and properly manage the solar-mini grid system so as to enjoy the maximum benefits especially for children who need a light source to read their books at nighttime and also enhancing women’s cooking during nightfall.
He commended the Netherlands Embassy and the Kalaba community and stated that the project was in line with the Paris Agreement of 2015 to reduce carbon emissions released into the atmosphere and the urgency for an energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources.
Uyi Ojo also said that the project will address reducing deforestation, fuelwood, kerosene and petrol dependence and the related health hazards.
He called on the levels of government in Nigeria and other donor agencies to focus more resources to direct clean energy delivery to promote energy access to all especially to vulnerable groups in remote communities such as Kalaba to generate green jobs and improved wellbeing.
The statement also stated that the people of Kalaba led by their Paramount Ruler, Chief Kolibo Francis, expressed gratitude and happiness over the provision of solar power by the Netherlands Embassy in Nigeria.
They commended the Netherlands Embassy and ERA/FoEN for the good development gesture, noting that the power project has shone the light on their community and its environs to improve their living conditions.
The Netherlands Ambassador to Nigeria accompanied by the second secretary had earlier paid a courtesy visit to ERA/FoEN office in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State in 2018 as part of their tour of the Niger Delta region to see firsthand the despoliation of the environment by the multinational oil companies operating in the region and their impacts on the rural dwellers in the area.