By Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The federal government yesterday said it opted to take off 37 of its universities and teaching hospitals from power supplies from the national grid, and make them to self-generate the electricity they need because it discovered that supplies to them had continued to remain erratic and subsequently impede their operations and offerings.
The government said through the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) in Abuja, that allegations that its Energising Education Programme (EEP) was irrelevant and unproductive, were untrue, adding that the EEP was a key component of its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (EGRP) and Power Sector Reform Programme (PSRP).
According to the government in a note the REA which manages the EEP, shared with THISDAY, the government has divided its implementation of the EEP into two phases, of which the first phase would be implemented in nine universities and one teaching hospital.
It said an energy audit done by the REA indicated that about 224,800 people would also benefit from the electricity that these nine universities and one teaching hospital will generate in the first phase.
â€œAccess to uninterrupted power supply in federal universities and university teaching hospitals in Nigeria has been cited as a major challenge and barrier to effective learning, institutional operations and student residency.
â€œConsidering the role of education in economic growth and socio-economic development in Nigeria, the ministry of power, works and housing resolved to embark on viable projects that will ensure the availability of reliable, sustainable and affordable power to our tertiary institutions. This led to the conception of the Energising Education Programme,â€ it said in the note.
According to it: â€œThe EEP is one of the programmes designed to implement the energy access and sufficiency action point of the EGRP and it is also incorporated into the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved PSRP, as a vital component of the PSRP.
â€œThe decision to seek a sustainable solution to this problem was also informed by the need to alleviate the burden of enormous costs borne by the federal universities in self-power generation which includes but is not limited to the high capital expenditure on diesel run generators.â€
It explained that: â€œDue to cost implications and time constraints, the projects under the EEP cannot be implemented at the same time, therefore, the EEP has been divided into phases. Phase one was designed for the generation of 28.56 megawatts (MW) covering nine federal universities and one university teaching hospital across the six geopolitical zones.â€
The beneficiary institutions in the first phase it stated included, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University – Bauchi, Bayero University – Kano, Usumanu Danfodiyo University – Sokoto, Federal University of Agriculture â€“ Makurdi, Federal University Ndufu-Alike Ikwo, Nnamdi Azikwe University-Awka, Federal University of Petroleum â€“ Delta, University of Lagos, Obafemi Awolowo University â€“ Osun, and its teaching hospital.