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How REA restored economic life in Lagos, Ogun, Osun rural communities

How REA restored economic life in Lagos, Ogun, Osun rural communities

The suffering of farmers, traders, and communities in some rural areas of Lagos, Ogun and Osun states respectively may have become a thing of the past as businesses that bowed to total darkness through epileptic or no power supply have received life through the intervention of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) in establishing an uninterrupted solar energy.

The beneficiaries of the initiative now have every reason to have a reflection of the popular scriptural passage that says “Let there be light”, a development that may change the experience that many Nigerians have been subjected to despite the effort of the government and concerned organisations to provide a lasting solution to the challenges facing the power sector in Nigeria.

Even the alternative means of generating power has not been a friendly channel to tap into as people are currently struggling to survive following the recent increase in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly called petrol, due to the removal of subsidy.

The high cost of diesel has increased by government’s recent decision to charge the Value Added Tax (VAT) on diesel.

This situation does not exempt the rural areas and this has made populace in the rural areas, especially farmers and traders, encounter great challenges in going about their businesses.

However, REA has made an attempt to put an end to the epileptic or no power supply syndrome in Nigeria. The agency recently embarked on solar installations in some rural communities in Lagos, Ogun, and Osun states.

The project implemented by REA, the Energising Economies Initiative (EEI) is a Federal Government programme focused on facilitating the swift implementation of off-grid electricity solutions for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) operating within economic clusters.

These clusters encompass diverse areas such as markets, shopping complexes, and agricultural/industrial hubs. The initiative operates in collaboration with private sector developers, aiming to provide reliable and sustainable energy access to support the growth and productivity of MSMEs.

According to the agency, its purpose is to bring solar energy to remote areas, aiming to rescue already crumbling businesses which in turn limits family potentials and overall development in rural communities.

In Osun, about 48 shops in Ayegbaju International market benefited from the solar installation programme as REA promised to further on the second phase in no time.

The chairman of Ayegbaju International Market, Oroleye Mustapha, said: “We appreciate this great gesture from the Federal Government for zoning this initiative to Osun State, especially in Ayegbaju International Market. I appeal to the agency to extend the second phase of the project as soon as possible.

“Obviously, any good thing is desirable to others.  We want it to cut across other rural parts of the state. Electricity is a major problem that is limiting our productivity. By the time this comes in a lot of people who have closed their businesses will come back,” he added.

The Managing Director, Rural Electrification Agency, Ahmad Salihijo, who was also on the visit for inspection said: “We came on inspection for one of the projects, which is part of our systematic approach to budgeting that we have been doing in the last couple of years where we are looking at alleviation of poverty, especially around agricultural sector.

“What we saw here is a construction of 100KW solar grid field at Ijebu development initiatives on poverty reduction in Eriwa farm settlement in Ijebu, Odogbolu Local Government, Ogun State.

“The boost will also cushion the effect of fuel subsidy as this will eliminate need to buy fuel in pumping the over 40 large fish ponds, while ordinarily will cost each pond owners N15,000 to pump their pond. Also, feed mill processors within settlement that are connected the solar grid will be more efficient, which translate to more profit.”

Makoko community in Lagos State was also a beneficiary of the solar installation.The REA boss noted that so far few schools, religious establishments and small and medium enterprises have benefited from the agency’s project in Makoko.

“In Makoko, the Solar Power Naija (SPN) programme has deployed nine large capacity solar home systems (SHS) to energise schools and clinics, and an additional 18 smaller capacity SHS for powering homes. These installations have had a direct impact on the local economy, enabling improved educational facilities, enhanced healthcare services, and increased productivity in households.

“We deployed almost six months ago, over 30 units in schools, hospitals and homes. We came so that we can access what we have done so far. The major reason for accessing it is to understand the optimal deployment for this system. We are currently doing that. We have come to see what has happened with the first deployment. I am very happy with the feedback,” he added.


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