Senate queries N10 billion expenditure on solar power for universities

The Senate Committee on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy, yesterday demanded explanation on the solar power projects for nine universities estimated to gulp a whopping sum of N10 billion.

Meanwhile, the committee turned back minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, for his alleged “unpreparedness to face the committee for his 2018 budget defence.”

The committee chairman, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, said it is irreconcilable for the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) to plan to spend whopping N10 billion to provide solar street light alone for nine universities.

Senator Abaribe’s observation followed REA Managing Director, Mrs. Damilola Ogunbiyi’s attempt to defend her 2018 budget of the agency, when she stated that the “Rural Electrification Access Progamme in Federal Universities” with a cost profile of N10,148,146,829.00, is one of the projects of the agency for 2018 fiscal year.

The purpose for the over N10 billion expenditure did not go down well with members of the committee especially when the power sector has been privatized.

The REA boss told the committee that they are working in nine federal universities to upgrade electricity supply in the institutions.

A member of the committee, Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi, demanded the list of universities involved in the projects.

Senator Abaribe also recalled that the committee requested for the list of the benefiting institutions.

Ogunbiyi named University of Lagos, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Usman Dan Fodio University, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, Bayero University, Kano as some of the federal institutions to benefit from solar power installation.

Vice chairman of the committee, Senator Buka Mustapher, insisted that the details of the power solution projects in universities must be disclosed as well as details of “who is paying for the installations when the power sector had been privatized.”

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