• Friday, February 23, 2024
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Solar power lights up Makoko community

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Makoko, a shanty settlement across the 3rd Mainland Bridge located on the coast of mainland Lagos which is poorly served by grid electricity is seeing increased power through solar.

A roll-out of Solar Home Systems in the area in the past few months has electrified schools, clinics and homes in the communities in Makoko where a third of the community is built on stilts along the lagoon and the rest is on the land.

The Makoko SHS deployment is a project captured under the Federal Government’s National Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy.

Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, MD of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), the implementing agency said: “Given the Agency’s role is providing access to electricity for unserved and underserved areas, the role being played here is more of a social service to mitigate the environmental and economic challenges of the community,” during a tour over the past weekend.

“This visit is part of a larger visit to the South West region with sites at Osogbo and Ijebu-Ode also visited,” he said. “The management will return and assess the impact of the projects so far.”

According to the MD, stakeholder engagement (State governments, community groups and end-users) will continue while all the feedback gathered is considered.

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“What is clear even in the immediate aftermath is that using a decentralised approach towards electrification of communities such as Makoko is the right approach given the difficulty of operating a traditional grid system,” Salihijo added.

According to a recent joint report by international organisations, 86 million Nigerians lack access to electricity, making Nigeria the country with the largest number of people without electricity access.

The report revealed that bridging electricity access gaps, especially for people living in poor and remote regions, requires an annual rate of growth of 1 percent point per year from 2021 onward, almost twice the current pace.

REA said through the Solar Power Naija Programme (SPN) Strategic intervention in Makoko, nine large-capacity SHS was deployed to energizer schools and clinics while 18 smaller-capacity SHS were deployed to power homes.

“As part of the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), the SPN program, implemented by the REA, is expected to contribute to this target, improving livelihood and stimulating economic growth,” said Barka Sajou, executive director, of technical services at REA.

According to him, this intervention fits into the poverty alleviation efforts of the Federal Government while equally revealing the role of the REA projects in mitigating the impact of the fuel subsidy removal through the use of renewables.

“These interventions equally show the depth of the REA’s footprint as the Agency continues to equitably deploy impactful, data-driven projects,” he added.