From Charity Nwakaudu, Abuja
The Nigerian government is set to partner with the People’s Republic of China on the development of a renewable energy research centre that will boost renewable energy technology in some selected Nigerian universities.
The proposed partnership between the Chinese and Nigerian universities is expected to build and upgrade centres of excellence in renewable energy technologies, which include green energy (solar, wind, hydro, bio-energy), energy efficiency and management.
The Minister of State for Science, Technology and Innovation, Mohammed Abdullahi, while receiving the delegates in Abuja, yesterday, said that prior to the Chinese engagement, the FMST had an ongoing discussion regarding engineering cooperation to have memorandum of understanding particularly in the areas of exchange of knowledge, ideas, equipment and learning problems with selected universities in the country focusing on technology.
Abdullahi also received on behalf of the Ministry a donation of solar panel equipment from the Department of Commerce of Yunan Province and Kunming Engineering Corporation Ltd of the People’s Republic of China.
The minister also stated that the support received from China would help to stem the tide of rural to urban migration, noting that lack of power is the major problem in rural areas.
He further stated that FMSTI would appoint a committee to look at the process of selecting beneficiaries in the rural areas to see how they can be deployed.
The country representative of Power China in Nigeria, Ji Yuxin, said that the donation is in line with promoting green technology in rural communities and is a part of the “Belt and Road Initiative.”
He added that the donation is a project that aims to provide the solution of electricity shortages in rural areas where the national grid is not accessible.
Fire guts new Lafia Motor Park
By Sunday John
An inferno has razed shops at the new Lafia Motor Park, Nasarawa State, destroying goods worth millions of naira.
A NAN correspondent who visited the scene of the incident learnt that the fire started on Friday night and lasted till the early hours of Saturday.
It took the personnel of the Fire Service in the state several hours to put out the fire.
Speaking on the incident, the State Coordinator of Fire Service, Mrs Hanatu George, said they got a distress call on Friday night and responded immediately.
George, however, said that although no life was lost, an investigation had begun to ascertain the cause of the fire.
One of the victims of the fire disaster, Ejike Igwe, a car spare parts seller, said his entire shop was razed by the inferno.
Igwe, who said he could not quantify his goods lost to the fire disaster, appealed for assistance from spirited Nigerians.
Ortom flags off Benue Digital Aerial Photography project
From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom on Saturday, flagged off the Digital Aerial Photography of Benue State as part of the process for the take off of the Benue Geographic Information System (BENGIS) Project.
The Governor who was earlier at the Makurdi Airport to inspect the process of air survey of the entire state assured the people of the state that the project would be completed and become operational before the next democracy day.
Speaking to newsmen shortly after inspecting ongoing work at the headquarters of the Ministry of Lands and Survey, the Governor who commended the contractors for the quality of work done so far said when completed, the state would enjoy several benefits from the project.
“What you saw us doing at the airport was to inspect the process of air survey of the entire Benue State. We are targeting all the local government headquarters in the state and some mini urban areas so that they will be captured on our system.
“Our intention is to also fastrack this and try to qualify for the World Bank grant which is estimated at five million dollars. We have paid more than half of the money that was required for this project. I think the total sum is about N6 billion and we have paid more than N3billion and our intention is that by April or before the next democracy day, this project should be commissioned and operation going on.
“And because of the importance this government has on completing this project, the benefit of having five million dollars is not a small thing. If you multiply that by our current exchange rate, you can imagine what we are going to get. So, for me, anything that is to add more to what we have is appreciated.
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“And the second one is that once this project is completed, we would have succeeded in computerizing the entire land mass in Benue State and then, the administration of land in the state is computerized. You can seat in your office and be able to do every other thing.
“And this issue of duplication of certificate of occupancy and all that will be eliminated completely. Several advantages that we are going to get from this. And above all, revenue generation and collection will become easier for us. And this we believe we should be making billions of naira every year once this project takes off. That is why even with the paucity of funds, we feel that this will be a revenue yielding program.
“The contractors have done well. I’ve looked at the quality of work that has been going on here. And if government has fulfilled it’s obligation by giving them their certificate and all the money that was required, I’m sure by now, we will be talking about roofing. That’s where we are standing while we are still working with the bank.
“Because this project is sponsored by Access Bank. While we are working with them to get the remaining funds, I just told the Commissioner that within a week, we should be able to make available another N500million for the project so that it will continue. This is where we are and I believe that we shall achieve our target,” he said.