By Emmanuel Addeh
The Rural Electrification Agency (REA), the body responsible for the provision of electricity to underserved communities in the country, Wednesday fulfilled its pledge to deploy solar power in the lighting of several isolation centres in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun States.
The agency said it presented the four completed solar hybrid mini grid plants in the three states as part of its effort in stemming the tide against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Projects handed over to authorities at the health centres included a 53.1KWp solar hybrid mini grid installed at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital Covid-19 isolation centre and a 25KWp solar hybrid mini grid at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) public health laboratory in Lagos.
Also, the REA handed over a 20KWp solar hybrid mini grid at the 128-bed Ikenne isolation centre and the 10KWp solar mini hybrid Kodo isolation centre in Ogun State.
It said that the initiative was implemented by the agency to complement the efforts of the federal and state governments as well as the private sector in containing the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.
This, the agency noted, followed the outlined intervention and palliative measures of President Muhammadu Buhari in his national broadcast of March 29, 2020 and the Minister of Power Mamman Saleh’s directive on the role of REA in complementing the government’s effort.
The organisation had before now, said that it was providing emergency electrification for Covid-19 health centres across the country in collaboration with development partners.
The Managing Director of the agency, Ahmad Salihijo, while delivering his remarks at the handover of the project, reiterated REA’s support in containing the pandemic and commitment towards electrification of unserved and underserved areas across the country.
He stated: “The REA being the implementing agency of the federal government for the electrification of unserved and underserved areas across the country hereby provides and hands over this 53.1KWp solar hybrid mini grid at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital Covid-19 Isolation Centre.
“This project is one of initial four solar hybrid mini grids implemented by the REA at Covid-19 health facilities. The other three are 25KWp solar mini grid at the NCDC public health laboratory in Lagos, 20KWp solar hybrid mini grid at the 128-bed Ikenne isolation centre and the 10KWp solar mini hybrid mini grid at the 100-bed Iberekodo isolation centre in Ogun State.
“Implementing these projects will provide clean, safe and reliable electricity to enable our health workers thrive towards the fight against this Covid-19 disease.”
In his comments, the Director of Administration at the NCDC, Mr Yakubu Abdullahi, who represented the NCDC Director General, Dr Chike Ihekweazu, applauded the gesture by the REA, stressing that it will go a long way to easing the difficulties hitherto encountered during power shortages.
“This will truly help our health workers in containing the spread of Covid-19 in the country,” he said.
The beneficiaries of the solar mini grids thanked the federal government and the REA for delivering the project towards combating the pandemic, noting that they will provide the much needed power in the institutions.
The NCDC said that the project will not only provide constant power to the centres to help combat Covid-19, it will also provide a conducive environment for patients to recover from the pandemic.