By Etuka Sunday
The Minister of Power, Engr. Sale Mamman, has said the Federal Government was creating massive job opportunities for Nigerian youths in the power sector through key programmes like the five million Solar Home System (SHS) project, the Mass Metering Scheme, among others.
Engr. Mamman disclosed this during a stakeholder meeting in Jalingo, the Taraba state capital, where he addressed youths on the need to foster peace and harmony.
The minister who also spoke on the backdrop of the #EndSARS protest, lauded the youths for making their voices heard on developmental issues.
In a statement from the Office of the Minister, Engr. Mamman urged the youths to shun violent protest while giving the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration a chance to implement their demands and other ongoing robust projects on youth empowerment.
In the power sector, Engr. Mamman said the 5 million Solar projects will be implemented through the Economic Sustainability Plan being steered by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
“Already plans are ongoing to kick start this and it is being designed to ensure that the majority of the firms and the installers are Nigerian youths. This is also part of the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s focus on lifting 100 million people out of poverty within 10 years.
“I am directly in touch with the implementing agencies which are the Rural Electrification Agency and the Niger Delta Power Holding Company on this, I can assure you,” Mamman noted.
The minister also said the president has directed a mass metering programme for the power sector starting immediately.
He said, “From the briefings I have received so far, the youths are taking up opportunities in this aspect as well as in renewable energy. This is another way the government will be empowering young Nigerians as the local assembly, installation and the maintenance of these meters, are largely handled by our industrious youths.
“The programme has begun with a target for one million meter installation at least by December. The Central Bank of Nigeria is supporting local firms and Meter Asset Providers on the financing and I urge our youths to take advantage of this.”
The minister urged the youths to be vigilant and resist and attempt by some people to use them to invite violence for their sinister motive, noting that the Federal Government was tailoring more programmes for the youths through the Siemens Presidential Power Initiative and in building capacity on renewable energy.
“There is assurance from Mr President that Nigerians will be beneficiaries of the Siemens project which will turn around the power supply situation of Nigeria. When this happens, industries will be revived and SMEs driven by youths will thrive more in the country.
“The National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN) has deliberately driven capacity building in renewable energy projects to ensure that more youths become solar power installers and dealers to create a whole new trend of skills for self-empowerment,” he noted.
On the 3,050 megawatts Mambilla hydropower project in Taraba state, the minister assured the host communities that the project will not short change the residents but rather bring development to them.
He said, “For the host communities, let me assure you that this project is not in any way going to short-change anyone of you as we are deploying global best standard models for compensation and other engagements with you.
“All we need from you is your cooperation, understanding, and support. Our doors are widely open for your inputs.”