FG explores alternative power supply to public universities
THE Federal Government is exploring alternative and independent power supply to public universities in Nigeria as part of measures to boost research and other academic activities on campuses as well as reduce the cost of running the institutions.
Findings have revealed that the cost of fueling and maintenance of power generating plants in tertiary institutions in Nigeria take a chunk of their budgets because of poor and epileptic power supply and the imperative to run the institutions on diesel.
In order to address this challenge, the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) is collaborating with the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) to provide all public universities with independent power supply.
Speaking on the development, Chairman, Board of Trustees of TETFund, Alhaji Kashim Imam, after a tour of the 250 kilowatts solar facility in Kwara State University (KWASU), Malete, revealed that the Fund was working in 27 universities, including Bayero University, Kano and KWASU to provide the institutions with power supply through solar installations.
Imam, who was accompanied by a member of the TETFund Board of Trustees, representing the South West, Senator Ganiyu Solomon, said despite beginning with a few universities, the Fund would work to provide all public universities with independent power supply.
Earlier, the management of KWASU, while receiving the TETFund team, expressed gratitude to the agency for funding its 250 kilowatts solar installation, calling on the agency for more funding to expand the project in 2021.
Led by its Deputy Vice -Chancellor, Professor Mahmud Saka, the university further appreciated TETFund for its multiple interventions, adding that more projects had sprung up in the institution and more were being constructed.
Saka disclosed that more than 100 staff members of the university had obtained PhDs through TETFund’s Academic Staff Development programme, adding that KWASU was the number one tertiary institution offering aeronautical engineering in the country.
The TETFund team also monitored projects at Kwara State Polytechnic Ilorin, where it is funding the construction of its Institute of Technology to the tune of N1 billion and a couple of other projects.
While touring TETFund-sponsored projects at University of Ilorin, Imam noted that "virtually all the faculty buildings were constructed by TETFund; from the Faculty of Engineering to the Faculty of Education and the Faculty of Law. We have seen so many projects. I have also seen several 500 and 600-capacity lecture theatres across this university campus and I am very happy."
Also speaking, the Vice- Chancellor, University of Ilorin, Professor Sulyman Abdulkareem, said the tour of TETFund projects in the university was to show TETFund what the university had done with the help given to it by the Fund.
"This university has benefited a lot over the years from TETFund. As I said, if you take away the intervention of TETFund from our campus, you have nothing much to say about it. We really thank God for them and pray that they do more for us,” Abdulkareem said.
The TETFund team also monitored projects at the Nigerian Army College of Education, Ilorin, where officials of the college called for more intervention on academic staff training at PhD level.