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FG begins N140bn solar power project for 25 million Nigerians

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The Federal Government says it has commenced the implementation of its plan to deliver electricity, through solar energy, to about 25 million Nigerians whose communities are not connected to the national power grid.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, disclosed this  during an event to mark the programme in Jangefe, Roni Local Government Area of Jigawa State.

He restated the determination of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to give more Nigerians access to cheap and environmentally-friendly renewable power.

Osinbajo said the Solar Power Naija programme had commenced across the six geopolitical zones in six states, namely: Edo, Lagos, Adamawa, Anambra, Kebbi and Plateau, in the first phase.

He added that it would then move to the entire 36 states and the nation’s capital, covering 25 million Nigerians.

Jangefe community got 1,000 solar home system connections for its about 5,000 population, as part of a 100,000 scheme, with a local solar power company implementing aspects of the scheme.

Osinbajo said, “The President had emphasised that we could no longer rely solely on the grid if we were to electrify the whole country, which meant that we had to develop an effective strategy for decentralising power supply.

“The Solar Power Naija programme, which is designed by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), is an ambitious initiative that aims to create five million connections through a N140 billion financing programme that will support private developers to provide power for five million households, which means providing electricity for up to 25 million Nigerians.”

He also said that the programme was a Public Private Partnership arrangement supported by concessionary lending via the Central Bank of Nigeria and commercial banks.

He emphasised that structures had been put in place to make the cost of the connections affordable for the target communities.

Osinbajo explained that the government had provided subsidies and rebates for private developers to the tune of over $200 million under the REA and World Bank Nigeria electrification programme.

He commended the Jigawa State Governor, Abubakar Badaru; the Emir of Kazaure, and other critical stakeholders for their role in ensuring the implementation of the programme in the community.

The vice president further commended the Emir of Kazaure, who made a down payment for the community to benefit from the solar connections, stating that the decision facilitated the programme.

Earlier, Badaru said the FG’s support to the states, despite declining resources, had been unprecedented since 2015.

He recalled how the Buhari administration gave a bailout to states to pay salaries and the payment of the long outstanding refund from the Paris Club debts.

Badaru also listed that the school feeding programme and other schemes, saying apart from impacting the economy, they had improved school enrolment from about 600,000 to over a million since their implementation.

The event was attended by Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State; Minister of Power, Mr Saleh Mamman; Minister of State for Power, Mr Goddy Jeddy-Agba; Managing Director of REA, Salhijo Ahmad; Managing Director, Niger Delta Power Holding Company, Mr Chiedu Ugbo; and Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises, Alex Okoh, among others.

Aviation

Rains: NiMet warns of severe turbulence, flight cancellations

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The Director-General, Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMet), Prof. Mansur Matazu, has said airlines will encounter severe turbulence, flight delays and cancellations during rainfall.
He therefore called on pilots and airline managements to adhere to the weather forecast as the likely severe turbulence could cause discomfort, injury to passengers, instability and even loss of control for small aircraft.
Matazu was quoted in a statement on Friday as saying, “Heavy rains could also lead to skidding of aeroplanes due to surface wetness and impaired horizontal visibility.
“Thunderstorms could also lead to accidents, incidents, flight delays, flight cancellation, death, damage among others.
“Windshear could lead to accidents, incidents, aircraft nosedive, discomfort, aircraft lost control and death.”
The NiMet boss urged airline operators to take weather forecast seriously, stating the turbulence usually would cause poor visibility.
He also called on passengers to be patient with the airlines as flight delays, flight cancellations and flight diversion will be experienced within this period.

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Navy arrests 10 vandals with smuggled 210,000 litres of diesel

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Operatives of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Beecroft have arrested 10 suspected vandals with 210,000 litre of stolen diesel.
The suspects were alleged to have attempted to smuggle the products concealed in water tanks to neighbouring Benin Republic through a wooden boat when they were intercepted around the Lagos anchorage.
A statement released on Friday by Base Information Officer, Sub-Lieutenant Veronica Effiong, said the suspects with the seized products had been handed over to the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, after preliminary investigations.
She said, “The vandals and seized products were on Tuesday, June 15, handed over to the Lagos Command of the NSCDC for further investigation and prosecution.
“The Commander NNS BEECROFT Commodore Bashir Mohammed reiterated the NNS BEECROFT`s commitment to the protection of critical national infrastructure and the eradication of all illegal activities in its area of responsibility in line with the Chief of the Naval Staff`s mission statement and strategic directive of 2021-5.
“As partners for a safe maritime environment, members of the public especially our host communities are enjoined to kindly furnish the base with credible information to assist in curbing the activities of criminal elements and economic saboteurs.”

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Buhari challenges MTN on quality service, data rate

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President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the MTN Group to offer quality service to its Nigerian subscribers at cheaper rates.
He stated this when he received in audience members of the board of MTN Group, led by its President and Chief Executive Officer, Ralph Mupita, at the State House, Abuja, on Friday.
Buhari said, “I congratulate you on your appointment as the Group President of MTN. I wish you all the best.
“Nigeria is your most lucrative market in Africa, Asia and the Middle East as well as the source of a third of the income of the entire MTN Group. As such, we urge you to offer top-of-the-range and affordable services to Nigerians.
“As we seek to make broadband widely available and affordable, we urge MTN to continue to support our efforts by expanding high-quality connectivity to Nigerians in un-served and under-served areas.”
The President also called on MTN to support the implementation of the National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content in the telecommunications sector.
He said, “I recently unveiled and launched the National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content in the Nigerian telecommunications sector.
“I call on MTN to support the implementation of this policy and, train and engage more Nigerians in your company.”
He assured his visitors that his administration was doing everything possible to make Nigeria investor-friendly by addressing identified challenges.

He said, “We have identified and addressed the key challenges that affected the growth of the digital economy sector. I am happy to note that the right of way charges have now been pegged at a maximum of N145/linear metre.
“I have given directives for the protection of critical national infrastructure and this has addressed the issue of vandalism of such infrastructure.”

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