The Senate committee on power, steel development and metallurgy yesterday queried the Rural Electrification Agency’s plan to spend a whopping sum of N10 billion on solar streetlight projects in nine universities across the country.
Chairman of the committee, Eyinnaya Abaribe, and his colleague asked the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) to explain details of the proposed N10 billion on solar streetlights in selected Nigerian Universities during the 2018 budget proposal defense.
In her response, the managing director of REA, Damilola Ogunbiyi, listed Rural Electrification Access Programme in federal universities with N10,148,146,829.00 earmarked for it. She stated that the agency was already working in nine federal universities to upgrade electricity supply in the institutions. The lawmakers expressed their dissatisfaction with Mrs. Ogunbiyi’s defense of the project, nothing that it was coming at a time when the power sector had been privatized.
A member of the committee, Senator Mohammed Hassan, said he could not understand why the agency was spending huge amount of money to provide solar power in universities when rural communities for which the agency was created were left in darkness. Another committee member, Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi, requested for the list of beneficiaries of the projects which the REA managing director listed as the University of Lagos, Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Awka, Usman Dan Fodio University in Sokoto, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University in Bauchi, and Ado Bayero University, Kano which are some of the federal institutions to benefit from the project.
However, the vice chairman of the committee, Senator Buka Mustapher insisted that the details of the power solution projects in universities must be disclosed as well as details of “who is paying for the installations since the power sector had been privatized.”
Meanwhile, it was reported yesterday that the committee turned back minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, for his alleged “unpreparedness to face the committee for his 2018 budget defense.”