It was a historic and epoch-making moment when Upake community, the ancestral home of Ebiraland in Ajaokuta Local Government Area of Kogi State became a beneficiary of over 200 million naira 80KWp solar hybrid mini-grid power project provided by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA).
The community and its environ which now enjoy 24-hours uninterrupted power supply was in total darkness for several decades.
Commissioning the project at Upake community, the Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan, said the multi-million 80KWP Solar Hybrid Mini-Grid was initiated in 2018 and now completed within shortest possible time.
Represented by Senator Yakubu Oseni representing Kogi Central Senatorial district, the Senate President said the Mini-Grid will provide 24 hours uninterrupted power supply to 2,976 people and 38 business outfits in the communities, assuring that the effort would improve the socio-economic development of Upake people.
“Electricity is an essential amenity and with the installation of this solar hybrid mini grid, I can see the positive change that will happen in the lives of all the indigenes of Upake.
“Our women will be able to process their cassava in a more efficient and productive manner while our fishermen can preserve their fish now that they have reliable electricity. I believe transformation of a state must begin at the grassroot and no other initiative that can greatly impact lives in our communities than provision of stable power supply,” the Senate President said.”
While he pleaded for similar projects to be installed in other communities in the district and the state in general, the Senate President appealed to the people of Upake community to take full responsibility of the project in terms of guarding it against vandalization.
“This power plant will serve you, your children and your children’s children if you treat it as your own and protect it. I believe that the developer will train the young people on how to care for the solar panels, they will hire local labour and much more. Please seize this opportunity to change your way of life and serve your community” he advised.
The Managing Director REA , Damilola Ogunbiyi in her address disclosed that the agency was established 14 years ago, stressing that the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has strengthened it to provide electricity to the rural communities.
She appealed to Upake community to protect the project, saying in the next 12 months the agency would visit the community to asses its level of utilization.
Earlier, the Ananyiwa of Upake, Ibrahim Okenyi Eneye, said the community though served as the ancestral home to Ebira people, but lacks basic social amenities such as road, electricity and pipe borne water.
While commending the Buhari-led administration for its people-focused projects across the country, the royal father said the community has been liberated from decades of neglect and darkness which had untold effect on the economy of the area. With this project, Upake will in no distant time become a hub for business and social activities, he stated.