In its effort to create an enabling environment for Nigerian students by providing uninterrupted and sustainable power through an independent power plant, Kano State was agog with jubilation on Tuesday, September 3, 2019, when it witnessed a historic event in Nigeria and the African continent when President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration commissioned the largest off-grid solar hybrid power plant in Africa at Bayero University, Kano (BUK) under the Energising Education Programme (EEP). As a result, 55,815 students and 3,077 staff now have access to electricity supply from the university’s 7.1MW solar hybrid power project.
The EEP is an initiative of the Federal Government of Nigeria to provide sustainable and clean power supply to 37 Federal Universities and seven university teaching hospitals across Nigeria. The project includes the provision of an independent power plant, upgrading existing distribution infrastructure, street lighting to improve security within the universities’ campuses, as well as the development of a world class training center on renewable energy for each university. The programme is being implemented in three phases and funded by the Federal Government of Nigeria, the World Bank and the African Development Bank.
Bayero University, Kano is the second project to be commissioned under Phase 1 of the EEP that will deliver clean and sustainable energy using solar hybrid and/or gas-fired captive power plants. The Bayero University commissioning included the launch of 11.41KM of street lighting as well as a world class renewable training center. A major highlight of the event was the graduation of 20 female students who participated in the Female STEM Students Internship Programme. The female students, who received practical training during the course of the project construction, were awarded certificates of completion.
In his speech, the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, noted that the programme aligns with the President Buhari’s administration’s Next Level Roadmap and upholds the Federal Government’s adherence to global best practice in the provision of cleaner sources of energy.
He reiterated that “the Energising Education Programme is strategic to fulfilling Nigeria’s commitment to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change as it aim to reduce Nigeria’s carbon footprint using renewable energy technologies, in line with the Federal Government’s mandate and unwavering efforts to increase renewable energy.”
Elated Osinbajo who couldn’t hide his joy for scoring another first by unveiling the largest off-grid solar hybrid power plant in Africa said as Nigerians, we should all be proud of. Enumerating the benefits of the project, he said “The installed 7.1MW decentralised solar hybrid power plant funded by the FGN green bond will supply over 58,000 students and staff with clean, safe and reliable electricity. I am sure that the entire student body, management and staff of Bayero University are proud to be beneficiaries of this, most especially as the only Federal University in Kano State and one of the longest standing ones. As a result, students can now focus on their academic and vocational training in a safer and illuminated environment.
“This significant initiative upholds the Federal Government of Nigeria’s adherence to global best practice, as we transition to cleaner sources of energy in line with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. These projects being implemented by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) are strategic to fulfilling our commitments to the agreements as they strive to reduce Nigeria’s carbon footprint. The leveraging of renewable energy technologies is in line with the federal government mandate and related activities. Nigeria’s plans to reduce carbon emissions by 20 per cent unconditionally and 45 per cent with international support by 2030 aims to limit the damaging effects of climate change.
“Our policies and objectives under the Energising
Education Programme in this administration’s Next level roadmap remains the same. The ultimate goal is to increase access to modern technical education in safe and illuminated learning environments, empower the girl child, and create jobs in the power sector value chain, amongst others.
“Thus far, this project created 182 energy related jobs from power system engineers to electricians as well as trained 20 young female STEM students with the skills to contribute to strengthening our energy sector. It is initiatives like this that creates the impact for Nigeria’s socio-economic growth.”
Osinbajo commended Ministries of Power and Environment for their policies and their implementations which has pushed the project thus far, the university management for their support, METKA contractor who made the project a reality as well as the Rural Electrification Agency under its managing director, Damilola Ogunbiyi and her dynamic young team.
In his remarks, Minister of Power, Engr. Sale Mamman, who is coincidentally an alumnus of BUK, noted that he was delighted to be part of the historic moment.” The ministry’s power policy specifically targets education to ensure that all federal universities, to begin with, have access to reliable electricity.
Notably, the Energising Education Programme was designed to involve students from project inception for project sustainability. I am delighted to be back at my alma mater as we commission these 7.1MW solar hybrid power plant, world class workshop and training centre and solar powered streetlights under the EEP. It was just a few years ago that I, too, was a student here without access to reliable electricity. So, it is particularly heartwarming for me to be here for this commissioning. This is a major achievement and an important step in scaling up our mandate to bring reliable and affordable power to homes, schools, hospitals communities and economic clusters across Nigeria.
“The Energising Education Programme was conceptualised and approved by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2016. I am privileged to take on this mantle to ensure that the policies established to promote electricity access in our country bring forth impactful and sustainable results. Therefore, it is with a great sense of pride that I stand before you today to affirm that this is indeed the beginning of more to come.
Mamman seized the opportunity to commend the 20 participants of the Female STEM Internship Programme as they graduate and implored them to be focused as Nigeria needs their newly acquired skills. He also congratulated the REA management team under the leadership of Damilola Ogunbiyi for their commitment.
Rural Electrification Agency’s Efforts
The Managing Director of the Rural Electrification Agency, Damilola Ogunbiyi, said it is a privilege to commission another university project, under Phase 1 of the EEP at BUK. “The EEP project at BUK is the second to be commissioned as we recently commissioned the first project – a 2.8MW solar hybrid plant at Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike Ikwo, and Ebonyi State on the August 2, 2019. It is noteworthy that this particular project here at Bayero University with an installed capacity of 7.1MW, is the largest off-grid solar hybrid power plant in Africa.
“ In line with this administration’s
Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), I am proud to say that the education sector is already reaping benefits from the installation of solar hybrid power plants across the country.
“I must reiterate here, that the Ministry of Power has focused on nurturing this emerging off-grid sector with the right policy initiatives aimed at providing access to power across Nigeria in rural communities, economic hubs and, in this case under the EEP, federal universities and university teaching hospitals.
“Under my leadership, the Rural Electrification Agency’s mandate under the Energising Education Programme is clear. To provide clean, reliable, safe and sustainable electricity to selected federal universities and teaching hospitals. We must rehabilitate existing electricity distribution infrastructure, illuminate university campuses for improved security and construct renewable energy training centres.
“Another important component of this project is the Female STEM Internship Programme, where 20 BUK female students received training in the design and construction of the solar hybrid power plant. Under the tutelage of the solar developer, these women received hands-on field and classroom training through the course of this project’s implementation.”
Ogunbiyi expressed her appreciation to the ministries of power and environment for their support, President Buhari led administration for the initiative that is putting Nigerian education on the global map as well as the entire REA team for their contributions and strategic roles played by everyone/
Commitment to Fostering Technical Training
Additionally, the Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje stated that the is committed to fostering technical and practical training, therefore, the EEP programme is strategically aligned to the state’s level job creation and capacity building objectives. “This is an absolute privilege for the student body and management of Bayero University Kano, especially as one of the oldest Federal Universities in Nigeria and I am grateful it was earmarked to benefit from the Energising Education Programme.
“I commend this initiative of the federal government because energising education is energising the youth and once the youth are energised you are de-energising armed robbery, bandits, kidnapping, etc. There is no doubt that it will have a multiplier effect on the social economic and will provide a conducive environment for the academic community.
“The STEM training facilitated by REA has impacted our female students and erased the notion that women are not good in technical education. This has boosted their morale to see themselves of being capable in any field.”
Ganduje therefore commended the Rural Electrification Agency for its dedication in ensuring the project was delivered in its full capacity. “Now our students can study round the clock without fear of power failure or insecurity within the university campus, thanks to the reliable electricity and installation of 11.4Km of streetlights across the campus. This is a testament to the Buhari Administration’s Next Level Roadmap which is delivering results through best practice infrastructure development”.
Boost to BUK’s Development
In his brief remarks, Vice-Chancellor, Bayero University, Prof. Muhammad Yahuza Bello said he was delighted about the history made by his institution. “The Federal Government of Nigeria’s EEP project could not have been implemented at a better time for BUK, where over 55,000 students and 3,000 staff will now experience teaching, learning and research in a more conducive and safer environment with access to clean and reliable electricity.
“The Energising Education Programme supports BUK’s mission to address developmental challenges in Nigeria, through cutting-edge research, knowledge transfer and training. This is a joyous moment for not just our university, but also for Kano State, Nigeria’s second largest industrial centre. I am very excited for the expected positive impact this initiative will have in transforming the way we teach, learn, and live on our campus. Also, under the EEP, students will be responsible for the project’s sustainability thanks to the technical and practical training our students received through construction.”
Commenting on the impact of the BUK solar hybrid installations, Managing Director, METKA West Africa Limited, the EPC contractor, Mr. Evangelos Kamari said “the state-of-the-art solar hybrid power plant will result in carbon dioxide savings of 108,875,120Ibs, a feat we as green contractors are proud of.”
Dignitaries present at the landmark occasion were Mr. Goddy Jeddy-Agba,Mallam Adamu Adamu, Alhaji Nasiru Gawuna, Dr. Mohammad Mahmoud, Alhaji Sabo Nanono and Mrs. Nike Giwa who represented the minister of environment.