Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
European Union Leader of Delegation, Kurt Cornellus, disclosed at the weeken that Nigerians spend an estimated $30 million, on yearly basis, to buy petrol and diesel, to power generators in order to have electricity.
Cornellus, who equally disclosed that 45 percent of the country’s population are still without electricity, noted that even the 55 percent with access to electricity battled with epileptic power supply.
He, however, observed that the humongous amount of money being expended on fuel for generators would not only have negative impact on Nigeria’s economy, but also, on the environment. Cornellus spoke at the weekend, during the official inauguration of 85KWP solar hybrid mini-grid project, built at Gbamu-Gbamu Village, in Ijebu East Local Government Area of Ogun State.
The power project was collaboration between the federal government’s National Energy Support Group (NESG), Ogun State Government, with technical support from USAID, German Cooperation, European Union, GIZ and Power Africa.
Ogun, Sokoto, Niger, Cross River and Plateau states were selected for the pilot scheme.
Speaking further, the EU envoy noted that rural electrification, through renewable energy, remains the only catalyst capable of catapulting Nigeria’s economy and emphasised the need to search for alternative and cleaner energy, which, according to him, is cost-effective and safe. Cornellus also disclosed that EU has earmarked €150 million for development of renewable energy in Africa.
In his speech, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, described the project as “100 percent paradigm shift in power-generation and evidence that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is working closely with development partners to address the country’s power challenge.”
Represented by the Minister of State in the ministry, Sulaiman Hassan Zarma, Fashola said a similar 80KW solar mini-grid project was recently inaugurated in a community in Sokoto state and expressed optimism that the project would help in improving lives of residents of Gbamu-Gbamu community.
On his part, Governor Ibikunle Amosun, said commissioning of the project is in line with his administration’s rural infrastructural development agenda.
He, however, charged the people of Gbamu-Gbamu to take ownership of the project because “it will speedily bring investment opportunities to the area.”