As part of the Federal Government’s initiative to improve electricity supply in Universities, through renewable energy technologies, under the Energizing Education Programme, EEP, the Management of the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike (MOUAU), on Thursday, handed over a site for the construction of a solar power plant to the Rural Electrification Agency (REA).

The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Mmaduebibisi Ofo Iwe, while addressing the team from the Rural Electrification Agency and the contracting firm, Sacotel Znshine, expressed satisfaction that the long-awaited project is coming to reality. Prof. Iwe maintained that MOUAU needs the project more than any institution, considering the huge benefits it stands to gain in the area of research and innovation for food production and processing. He enjoined the Agency and the contractor to deliver the project in record time and according to the specifications.

On the provision of security and logistics for the smooth realization of the project, the University helmsman assured the team that the University is safe for them and that the University technical team would lend all necessary support to ensure that the project is executed perfectly.

In his response, the team from the Rural Electrification Agency, led by Engr. Chigbo Nwafor noted that the delay in the execution of the project since 2019 was not a deliberate one. He explained that the financier and the agency had to put adequate measures in place to realize a sustainable project that will meet the expectations of the various stakeholders.

Engr. Nwafor further reeled out the major components of the Energizing Education Programme (EEP) which according to him include the improvement of the quality of education in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions through the provision of reliable and sustainable power and the installation of amenities such as energy-saving streetlights.

Other components of the project, according to Engr. Nwafor, include the development and operation of world-class Renewable Energy Workshop and Training Centres (WTCs) at MOUAU, where students will receive firsthand practical and research experience in renewable energy technologies/innovations. The project, according to the REA team lead, also involves the encouragement of female gender participation in the energy sector, amongst other objectives.

Engr. Bajwa Mohammed of Sacotel Znshine, in his brief comment, promised to deliver the project beyond the expectations of the stakeholders.

Engr. Onyeka Okoye, a Technical Assistant at the Rural Electrification Agency and Engr. Saheed Omotara, the EEP Project Manager, in their separate responses, urged the university to build capacity for energy management and ensure that all projects and gadgets in the University are designed and procured with energy efficiency in mind.

In attendance at the handing over ceremony were principal officers of the University, including the DVC (Academic), Prof. Udo Herbert; Ag. Bursar, Mr. Ugochukwu Ironkwe; Ag. Registrar, Mr. P.C Nwoma, and the University Librarian, Dr. Issac Ogbonna. Dr. Ezeocha Iheanacho and Engr. James Uchegbuo, the representatives of the Director of Physical Planning and the Head of the Department, Electrical/Mechanical Engineering, respectively, were also present.

The Energizing Education Programme (EEP), an initiative of the Federal Government of Nigeria is sponsored by World Bank and facilitated by the Rural Electrification Agency. It was established in 2016 with the aim of providing reliable, affordable, and sustainable power to thirty-seven (37) Federal Universities and seven (7) Teaching Hospitals in Nigeria.

MOUAU is one of the seven (7) beneficiaries of Phase II of the Energizing Education Programme.

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