Gombe State Government and the Bank of Industry (BoI) two days ago signed N360m deal for the deployment of pay-as-yougo solar home systems in selected rural communities in the state.
The project, which is expected to commence with the deployment of standalone solar home systems in Lule 1 and 2 communities in Dukku Local Government Area and Pata community in Yemaltu Debba, would be co-funded by BoI and Gombe State Government with each contributing N180 million.
Speaking during the signing ceremony in Gombe, the Acting Managing Director of BoI, Mr. Waheed Olagunju, said the project would boost economic activities in the benefiting communities.
He said the problem of electricity supply from the national grid in Nigeria underscored the need to explore other sources of power generation. It would be recalled that Gombe State was one of the states that benefitted from the first phase of the BoI/ UNDP rural electrification programme involving one community in each of the six geopolitical zones The success of the project had prompted Governor Ibrahim Damkambo to seek its replication in other nine local government areas of the state.
Olagunju said: “The persistent problem of electricity supply from the national grid in Nigeria has made it imperative to explore alternative power supply options to lift Nigeria and its rural communities in particular, out of darkness and provide them a new lease of life afforded by the presence of not only reliable, but clean and sustainable energy.” He called on other state governors to replicate the solar systems in off-grid communities in their states.
Olagunju said it had been stories of improved livelihood, better living condition and economic rejuvenation in the communities where the first phase of the projects was executed.
Olagunju added: These communities with an average of 200 homes each hitherto had no electricity and lived in darkness. But since the provision of solar electricity, the lives of the inhabitants of these communities have changed dramatically.