By Faith Igbudu
The Paramount Ruler of the Tiv nation, His Royal Majesty, Prof. James Ayatse, Tor Tiv V, has commended the federal government solar power initiative in 37 federal universities, but appealed that the university system be re-opened to allow the maximisation of the facility.
He made his position on the matter known Friday, at the commissioning and handing over of the 8.25MW solar hybrid project at the Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi (FAUM).
Speaking, Prof. Ayatse, appreciated God for the realisation of the project in the university, which he said has been long over due.
He also extended his appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari and everyone who has played a role in the realisation of this feat.
“Today is a very significant day that the university will now have 24 hours in the university. I have been in the university system, I know what power means to research.
“I therefore, appeal to the FG and Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to resolve your issues so that these students can come back. A university is not a university without the students,” he said.
Prof. Ayatse assured the fg that as the Paramount ruler in whose domain the project has been executed “we take delivery of this solar power and give it the necessary protection” he noted.
He further appealed that the name change earlier approved for the university to J.S Tarka University, be effected immediately, noting that the ancestors are not happy about the delay.
He said FAUM with the name changed would become a conventional university, which can handle all courses but with focus on agriculture.
He also said that the error made at the creation of the university, placing it under the ministry of agriculture be corrected, as the said ministry lacks the capacity to supervise the university, adding that the university be brought under the ministry of education, to enable proper supervision.
He said the ministry of agriculture should limit it’s control to the support of agricultural research programmes.
He maintained that he is in support of the community who displayed their demands on placards and called on the federal government to intensity efforts to extend the power to the host community, as any delay could result to a setback in the noble project.
In his remarks, Managing Director, Rural Electrification Agency, Engr Ahmed Salihijo Ahmed, said the project is an initiative of the federal government to create sustenable power in 37 federal universities and 7 teaching hospitals, with training of 200 female students per university in engineering.
He noted that the project is part of this administration’s drive for the economic growth plan of the country.
Also speaking, Senate Committee Chairman on Power, Sen. Gabriel Suswam, assured that the legislative council will continue to take steps towards tackling power challenges in the country.
Earlier, in his welcome address, Vice Chancellor of FUAM, Prof Richard Kimbir commended the project saying it will boost research and learning.
“It is gratifying that this project is now completed. The university cannot be thankful enough to Mr President for solving one of her major problems, with the provision of uninterupted power supply on campus.
“This project would no doubt embolden teaching, research and work output on campus,” he said.
According to him, the university has positioned itself as a crucial agent into the next level agenda and will continue to key in to the numerous agrictural intervention programmes of the present administration.