Power Challenges: Fashola Blames Past Administration For Failure

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola has blamed the past administration for the electricity challenges witnessed in some parts of the country.

The Minister said the past administration delayed the implementation of the Strategic Rural Electrification Plan (SREP) for ten years thereby making it difficult for some rural communities to enjoy power supply.

Fashola however disclosed that the approval of the plan by the present administration has made it possible for the government to access $200m adding that the fund would enable it run a pilot power project in 70 communities across five States.

The Minister disclosed this in Abuja during a courtesy visit by members of Gora community in Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State led by the Sarkin Gora, Alhaji Jafaru Adamu.

Members of the community were at the ministry to express gratitude following the provision of power to the community after several years in darkness.

Fashola said: “This power supply demonstrates that while we are working to fix the grid, more communities are getting power off the grid. When we say that we are now generating 7000 power and we have distribution challenges, our work does not start and end on the grid because more communities are getting electricity off the grid and Gora community is an example of what we have done with off-grid power and the members of Gora community are here to testify that our mini-grid regulation and off-grid policy is also working.

“It is important to point out that when the Electric Sector Reform Act was passed in 2005, it stipulated very clearly that the Rural Electrification Strategy Implementation Plan must be developed and approved by the President within one year but that was not done until President Buhari was elected.

“So, the last administration delayed the implementation of the Strategic Rural Electrification Plan by ten years. So it was not done until 2016 and as soon as we presented it to President Buhari, he had no difficulty at all in approving it and it is that plan that is impacting communities today and Gora is one of the dozens of communities that have been impacted.

“That plan has enabled us access $200 million and we are going to run a pilot project of 70 communities in five states while we continue to gather more data of communities like Gora which does not have access to power.  So it is the story of access that we really want to tell.”

He continued: “You here are the faces of access to electricity under this administration and there are other communities like that. We will continue to tell stories because not everyone can go round the way we go round and if they don’t see us on television, some people who tell lies will reinforce those lies.

“So, this project has connected communities and it has connected them to electricity.  Let them continue to reinvent their division but we are seeing practical examples of unity. Communities can also tell the truth from the lies that was taken to them when they didn’t have information.

“They who have kept them in darkness didn’t want them to be connected so that they can spread rumours and falsehood but President Buhari is connecting communities through electricity, roads, rail, bridges and airports.”

The Minister also said that rural communities were critical to the President Buhari led administration.

“Rural communities and farming communities are the most pillars of the diversification of the Nigerian economy.  They are the treasure store of nutrition, food, building materials and so our attention is focused on rural communities under the directive of the President.  He believes that what is good for the people in the cities must be good for the people in the rural communities and that is our mandate.”

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