From Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri
The Northern States Governors’ Forum has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a power company to build five solar electricity plants, to generate 500 megawatts.
Chairman of Northern States Governors’ Forum, Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno, who signed the MOU, on behalf of the forum, yesterday, said his colleagues were desirous of taking action on the economy and infrastructural challenges of the region rather than rhetorics.
“The 19 governors of the north jointly created this approach. We want to go beyond lamentation to provide solutions and we all know that power is key to industrial development. With power, we can create jobs, stimulate our economies and make life better for our people. General Electric has over 120 years experience in energy solutions and they have been operating in Nigeria for over 50 years, we cannot have a better partner than GE. We shall do our part as governors, this ,I assure you.
“We are deeply committed to this agreement,” Shettima said at the MoU signing ceremony,” his spokesman, Isa Gusau quoted the governor, in a statement made available to newsmen in Maiduguri, capital of Borno state, yesterday.
The MoU with General Electric International, according to Gudau, was signed at a ceremony held at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, in Abuja.
He said the company is expected to construct five solar power plants in Borno, Kebbi, Nassarawa, Niger and Taraba states with each of the plants expected to generate 100 megawatts of electricity totaling 500 megawatts across the five States.
“The electricity is meant to stimulate economic activities and social services in the affected states through boosting agricultural food processing, small scale businesses in addition to supplying electricity to schools and hospitals,” he said.
He described the project as a pilot phase being coordinated by the Northern Nigeria Global Economic and-Integration Programme of the Northern Governors’ Forum and added that the project is aimed at creating vehicle for “economic recovery of northern states through international relations on infrastructure, manufacturing, stimulate agricultural value chain and trade and make the region a global payer agricultural export in line with the vision of late Premier of the Region.”
He said the forum identified challenges of poverty, unemployment, poor access to education, poor healthcare as indicators threatening the North, even as it concluded that the new power project can provide a vehicle for the region to reposition itself for a better future.