The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu on Monday performed the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of a 10mw solar power plant estimated to cost N4 billion at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State.
The project, which is located at Biye Village, Sabongari Local Government Area of Kaduna State, is expected to be completed in six months and is meant to address the energy needs of the university.
The project was designed, initiated and financed by ABU in collaboration with Nigeria-German Energy Partnership with assistance from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund.
The minister commended the University for its Foresight and urged it to sustain the tempo.
Adamu who was represented by Hajiya Fatima Jidda-Ahmed, the Director, Tertiary Institutions in the Federal Ministry of Education.
He expressed hoped that the institution would take advantage of the partnership with Germany, not only in power generation but in encouraging engineering students to gain from the partnership.
The German Deputy Ambassador to Nigeria, Regina Hess, in her speech, said the partnership was based on the passion Germany had for university education in Nigeria.
According to her, universities would perform better if the education budget was used judiciously.
She said: “With this project, our passion for Germany has become the passion for Nigerian government too.”
Hess promised to train engineers from the ABU to become experts in the field of solar energy.
The Coordinator, Nigeria-German Energy Partnership, Dr Jeremy Gains recalled that the project started in 2008 in Berlin when the late President Umaru Yar’adu’a and his wife visited Germany.
Gains said: “Both Yar’adu’a and his wife were alumni of the university. He met Chancellor Martha and she asked how Germany can help Nigeria.
“The late president said wisely in just three words and those three words were; power, power, power, adding that electricity is the key to development.”
Gains said another alumni of ABU who also facilitated the project was the late Dr Rilwanu Lukman when he was both minister and Secretary-General of Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
He said: “The German company will come to Nigeria to create power stations while in return, Nigeria will guarantee energy security in the form of gas.”
Prof. Ibrahim Garba, the Vice-Chancellor of the university earlier said ABU, the largest university, not only in Nigeria but in West Africa, had the high demand for electricity.
He said the university spent about N85 million monthly on electricity, “that’s why we need our own power source to use and probably sell out to consumers out there.”