The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has called on the Nigerian Senate to grant approval of funds for the proposed Energising Education Programme (EEP) project of the Federal Ministry of Works, Power and Housing (FMWPH).
In a statement obtained by EduCeleb.com on Thursday, its Public Relations Officer, Okereafor Bestman Opeyemi declared the support of the apex students’ body for the project.
Recall that the FMWPH had last Monday revealed that the project worth N10billion was meant to provide uninterrupted electricity in 37 federal universities and seven Teaching Hospitals across Nigeria.
The ministry noted that the project does not only entails solar powered street lighting as against misconceptions, but is mainly focused on providing an uninterrupted power supply with the Independent Power Plants (IPPS).
“In addition to helping to extend electrification to rural and underserved areas in which the institutions are located ultimately, the Programme will enable the institutions benefit from world-class training schools, for the training of students in renewable energy, as well as provide optimized security, for the safety and well-being of students and staff, through the installation of streetlights on campus which is only a small component of the Project,” the ministry’s statement partly read.
Mr Opeyemi said NANS saw the project as one which would not only benefit the institutions but also their host communities.
In the NANS spokesman’s statement, “we consider (it) as student oriented as it will also help to extend electrification to rural areas in which the institutions are located.”
“The Programme will enable the institutions benefit from world-class training schools, for the training of students in renewable energy and also help institutions management to save huge funds been spent on power,” it added.
The EEP is to be implemented by the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Rural Electrification Agency, and the Vice Chancellors of the universities. The Federal Ministry of Education had signed on to this as a critical investment in the education sector.
NANS warned against any attempt to down play the significant impact the programme will have on the enhanced education of Nigerian students describing such as “unpatriotic”.
It called on the Senate to approve “this laudable project”, while creating an analogy between the recent approval of 1billion dollars for counter-insurgency and it.
“If $1B can be approved for (counter) insurgency, how much is then N10B for the education sector? We will not hesitate to take to the streets if the needful is not done soonest,” the statement concluded.
In a related development, policy analysts also criticised alleged attempts within the Senate to stifle the execution of the project. They faulted any attempt to downplay the essence of the project saying that there should be a rethink on the part of its antagonists.