The Northern States Governors’ Forum and the General Electric (GE) International yesterday signed a memoranda of understanding (MoU) for the construction of five solar plants which would generate 500 megawatts of electricity in some parts of Northern Nigeria.
Borno State Governor and Chairman of the Northern States Governors’ Forum, Kashim Shettima, signed the agreement on behalf of the other governors while General Electric’s Senior Executive, Western Europe and Africa, Mr. Armand Pineda, and the President/Chief Executive Officer, General Electric, Nigeria, Dr. Lazarus Angbazo, signed on behalf of their company at a brief ceremony held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja.
Based on the MoU, the General Electric which has 120 years experience in power generation, is to build five solar power plants to be located in Borno, Kebbi, Nassarawa, Niger and Taraba States which each of the plants expected to generate 100 megawatts of electricity totalling 500 megawatts across the five states.
The electricity is meant to stimulate economic activities and social services in the affected states as well as boost agricultural food processing, small scale businesses, in addition to supplying electricity to schools and hospitals.
The project which is a pilot phase, is being coordinated by the Northern Nigeria Global Economic Re-integration Programme, newly created by the northern governors to serve as vehicle for the economic recovery of northern states through international relations on infrastructure, manufacturing, stimulate agricultural value chain and trade as well as make the region a global player in agricultural export in line with the vision of late Premier of the region, Sir Ahmadu Bello.
The governors’ forum led by Shettima had engaged the services of Malam Tanimu Yakubu Kurfi as the Chief Executive Officer of the programme. Kurfi was Chief Economic Adviser to late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, and has wide contact with leading development companies and financial institutions across the world.
“The 19 governors of the North jointly created this approach. We want to go beyond lamentation to provide solutions and we all know that power is key to industrial development. With power, we can create jobs, stimulate our economies and make life better for our people. The General Electric has over 120 years experience in energy solutions, and they have been operating in Nigeria for over 50 years. We cannot have a better partner than GE. We shall do our part as governors, this I will assure you. We are deeply committed to this agreement,” Shettima said at the MoU signing ceremony.
The northern governors’ chairman enumerated the challenges of poverty, unemployment, poor access to education, poor healthcare among other underdevelopment indices threatening the North while concluding that power can provide a vehicle for the region to reposition itself for a better future.
The CEO, Northern Nigeria Global Economic Re-Integration Programme, Kurfi, said he took up the challenge put forward by the northern governors as a result of strong passion and commitment to aggressive development of the North as so far shown by the northern governors since Shettima became the forum’s chairman in 2015.
Reaffirming their commitment to the MoU, General Electric’s Senior Executive, Western Europe and Africa, Pineda, and the President/Chief Executive Officer, General Electric, Nigeria, Angbazo, both pledged that they would work round the clock to realise the project for the benefits of citizens of the five states.