Governor Lalong wants more Plateau communities light up on visit to Rural Electrification Agency

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Governor Lalong, left, with Managing Director, REA, Engr. Ahmad Salihijo

By Anthony Maliki

Plateau State Governor Simon Bako Lalong has advocated for the lighting of more rural communities in the State through the deployment of Solar Mini Grid system.

Governor Lalong who visited the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) in Abuja to meet with the Managing Director Engr. Ahmad Salihijo and his management team, commended the Agency for carrying out the 234 KWp Shemankar solar mini grid that has become a successful venture lighting up communities and improving the lives of the people.

This was contained in a statement by Dr. Makut Simon Macham, Director of Press and Public Affairs to the Governor of Plateau State to Apex News Exclusive.

He said his visit to the REA was to make another passionate appeal for a Solar Mini-Grid Deployment to Ajikamai, the community hosting the newly established Federal Polytechnic N’yak, Shendam LGA of Plateau State. According to him, as the new Polytechnic takes off, power is a major challenge because currently, the area is not connected to the national grid.

Governor Lalong with microphone flanked by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Dr. Makut Simon Macham during a meeting at REA in Abuja

While appealing for urgent intervention, he said “Specifically, we shall appreciate if the REA program through the World Bank/Central Bank CARES initiative can be extended to the newly established Plateau State Energy Corporation as a means to enable the State government’s desire to deliver power to the Polytechnic and surrounding communities through the off-grid energy approach.”

Lalong said Plateau State energy sector is undergoing reforms with the establishment of the Plateau State Energy Corporation which is being positioned for synergy and policy implementation. He craved the assistance of REA in equipment supply and technical capacity building for the new Corporation.

He presented other requests to the Managing Director of the REA, urging the agency to partner with the Plateau State Government in expanding NESCO’S power generation capacity both in the existing hydro or exploring other renewables.

Responding, Managing Director, REA Engr. Ahmad Salihijo appreciated the Governor for the visit and assured him that the agency will be captured under various programmes that are ongoing.

He cited the interventions that will soon be done in 3 markets in Jos namely: Building Materials, Rukuba Market and Katako. Other initiatives that the State is expected to benefit from are the Solar Power Naija program which has five communities. Others already implemented are the 5KW Health Centres project in five primary healthcare centres in the State under COVID-19.

Salihijo appealed to the Governor to nominate a State focal person that will liaise with the REA in carrying out some of the requests presented to the agency.

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