REA INDUCTS ‘STEM’ FEMALE STUDENTS OF AE-FUNAI
The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) in actualizing the Energizing Education Programme(EEP),held its first induction for selected female students of AE- FUNAI in the Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) to undergo three months certified internship training .
While declaring the induction open at the University Senate Chamber, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Chinedum Nwajiuba represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sunday Elom, expressed gratitude to the Federal Government for giving AE-FUNAI opportunity to be among the first nine universities chosen to have a power grid installed in the school and among the two universities chosen in the South-East. He charged the female students who were selected for the internship to remain consistent and focused towards acquiring in-depth knowledge during the programme as the university was majorly concerned in building students who are worthy in character and learning. He mentioned that women are now at the fore front of affairs all over the world and asked the students to aspire higher and dream big.
Speaking at the event, the REA resident Engineer, Kalu Okwara Orji stated that during the Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo’s tenure, the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) was a subset of the National Electricity Power Authority (NEPA) later known as the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) in a bid to massively extend National Grid to Rural dwellers. With arising difficulties, EEDC metamorphosed and proved to be a more difficult adventure. In order to rescue Federal Institutions from the shackles of public power supply, a special project called Energizing Education Programme (EEP), an initiative of the Federal Government of Nigeria, aimed at providing sustainable and clean power supply to thirty seven (37) Federal universities and seven (7) University Teaching Hospitals across Nigeria was established.
Engr. Orji added that the project plan include the provision of independent power plant, upgrading existing distribution infrastructure, providing street lighting to improve security within the university community as well as development of a world class training centre on renewable energy for each university. According to him, “ the project is being implemented by the REA and developed in phases where phase one will deliver 28.5 megawatts to 9 Federal Universities and one university teaching hospital using solar hybrid. The phase one will benefit 127,000 students, 28,000 university staff, 4700 staff in teaching hospital and 819 doctors. It will power 2,850 street lights and result in the decommissioning of hundreds of generators, four of which will be decommissioned in AE-FUNAI”.
The Key Facilitator and Technical Assistant to the Managing Director, Rosemary Eden, introduced the REA as a Federal Government Agency under the Federal Ministry of Power responsible for improving electricity access to underserved communities in Nigeria. She stated that the REA developed the off grid electrification strategy, programmes and initiatives for the overall development and economic growth plan of the country. She mentioned that the EEP STEM programme for female students is a way of getting more women actively involved in the power sector in order to bridge the gap between men who are the dominating gender and their female counterparts. She gave an overview of the internship plan, the duration, including students’ incentives. She re-iterated that students were not allowed at the site for more than three times a week and emphasized the benefits of the EEP programme and urged them to take the opportunity seriously.
While at the Solar Garden, Mr. Adelore Kunle, staff of the holding firm, gave the students safety tips to guide them in and around the Power Plant during their internship and asked them to take their safety seriously and always appear at the site with their complete safety kits.
Engineer Emmanuel Mopho, one of the officers on site, took the inductees and officials of the University around the power plant getting them acquainted with the basic facilities while giving fundamental information on how electricity supply is generated from sunlight, through the solar panel and distributed to consumers.
The Director CEDAMPAT, Mr. Chris Uwadoka after the induction had a closed door meeting with the new inductees where he charged them to be good ambassadors of the university by being of good conduct,exhibiting intelligence and garnering adequate knowledge to the pride of the university and to their immense benefit upon graduation.
Miss Ofoegbu Sonia of the department of Anatomy, on behalf of the inductees thanked the university management for such a rare opportunity of having only women partake in such a wonderful programme, especially with the valued certificates to be issued at the end of the internship and promised to do the university proud.