Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
The federal government yesterday said it was giving more attention to the electrification of rural areas in the country because of the need to empower those who live in villages and ensure that their small-scale businesses survive.
The Minister of State for Power, Mr. Goddy Jedy-Agba, who had interaction with some journalists in his office yesterday, explained that rural dwellers were also more likely to pay their electricity bills without complaining in contrast to urban dwellers.
Also in attendance during the meeting were the Managing Director, Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Mr. Ahmad Salihijo; Managing Director of Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA), Mr. Peter Ewesor, and Director-Genera of National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN), Ahmed Nagode.
Jedy-Agba stated that the federal government would continue to provide power for under-served communities in Nigeria so as to encourage people who live outside the towns and cities to engage in small businesses and preserve farm produce by processing them.
He said: “Travelling by road from here through Nassarawa State, you would see fruits and food on the road wasting. If there’s power, many industries can be created to process those fruits and sell them. If you go to Korea, you would also see these things. The woman who sells roadside food can grind pepper. If artisans have electricity, their trade will improve.
“There’s a community in Niger State where we electrified last year. When they saw the light (electricity) came, it was like, permit me to say, Jesus Christ came down to them. The villagers pay for electricity, but you and I don’t. We consume and complain. The villagers don’t because they know they consume X and they pay.”
The minister added that because of his personal passion for the poor, more attention is now being devoted to the rural areas, including through the provision of off-grid sources of power supply.
NEMSA MD, in his remarks, restated the ban on the misuse of the 33KV lines in the country, noting that it was one of the major causes of load shedding.
He noted that NEMSA would continue to monitor all categories of electrical installations to ensure safety in the industry, insisting that no electrical installation in Nigeria can be constructed without the certification of the organisation.
Ewesor stressed that in the last few months, NEMSA had carried out the inspection of over 5,652 new electrical installations nationwide.