Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
The federal government has pledged to complete and put into operation three major power projects in Abia State by the first quarter of 2021.
Minister of Power, Mr Sale Mamman, who gave the assurance that the three power projects located in Abia North would be reactivated and completed within schedule, explained that the job had been abandoned for too long.
A statement by his spokesman, Mr Aaron Artimas, noted that the 2×30/40MVA substations 132 KVA transmission lines, which are located in Arochukwu, Ohafia and Ubur-Ihechiowa, were awarded since 2001 but abandoned more than 10 years ago at about 95 per cent completion.
Speaking during an inspection visit to the three projects, the minister expressed disbelief that the projects would be abandoned at such levels and pledged that the contracts would be reviewed and rewarded for immediate completion.
Mamman noted that the power projects were of immense importance to the people because they would not only boost electricity supply, but give room for expansion to cover the entire Abia senatorial district.
The Minister, who was accompanied on the inspection visit by Senator Orji Kalu, the statement said, addressed cheering crowds at the three locations and assured them that their long wait was over.
Meanwhile, the federal government through the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) has commissioned two hybrid solar power mini-grids to provide uninterrupted power supply to two hospitals in Kogi State.
While one is a 65 kilowatt (KW) mini grid at a 250-bed cottage hospital in Ukpogo, Okene Local Government Area, another 5.4KW was inaugurated at Government Cottage Hospital, Eba-Adavi in Adavi council.
Managing Director of REA, Mr. Ahmad Salihijo, said the projects were timely interventions to help hospitals in generating alternative sources of power supply with challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic.
He described the launch of the solar grids as a harbinger for electrification of more rural hospitals in the country, noting that the idea of providing power to millions of Nigerians through off-grid power was to ensure equitable delivery of social and economic benefits that would improve lives.
“I hope what we have done for the hospital from the REA will enable you to power some of your equipment that needs 24 hours reliable clean energy,” he said.
Executive Director, Dr. Sanusi Ohiare, assured that the communities would be connected to the grid in the nearest future and urged management of the hospital to ensure the projects are well maintained.
“With the energy deficit in the country, President Muhammadu Buhari has continued to give REA the support so that we can bring this kind of intervention. We would not stop at hospitals because there are communities we would extend the projects,” Ohiare said.