Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta/Chairman, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Hon. Kingsley Kuku, CEO Schneider, Mr. Jean-Pascal Tricoire, Nigeria’s Ambassador to France, Hakeem Sulaiman, and others during the commissioning of the Isaac Boro Technical College in Grenoble, France
The Nigerian government in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education and Schneider Electric has commenced a unique collaboration aimed at boosting access to electricity in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria in particular and the nation at large.
The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Hon. (Dr.) Kingsley Kuku, flagged off the initiative at the weekend with the commissioning of the Isaac Boro Energy Training College in Grenoble, France.
Kuku was joined by the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Schneider Electric, Mr. Jean-Pascal Tricoire; the President of the Grenoble Education Authority, Mr. Daniel Filatre; the Nigerian Ambassador to France, Hakeem Suleiman; and a representative of the Federal Ministry of Power, Dr. Albert O. Okorogu.
The training college, which was named after the foremost Niger Delta freedom fighter, the late Major Isaac Adaka Boro, is an initiative between the Nigerian government and Schneider Electric Nigeria, drawing on the expertise of both Schneider Electric France and the French Education Ministry.
Since it opened its doors, the school has welcomed 30 Nigerian students from the Niger Delta deployed by the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, to receive training in energy management.
Kuku said at the end of their studies, the students would receive globally recognised professional certificates endorsed by the Grenoble Education Authority of France and Schneider Electric France.
The training, he added, would also offer the Nigerian students the opportunity to gain not only electrical certification, but also complementary qualifications such as languages and IT.
“I am truly delighted at this collaboration between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the French Government. Nigeria is at the verge of a revolution in the power sector. Our President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, has reformed the power sector and he is investing heavily in that sector as well. I can attest here that amazing results are being achieved. In fact, we are preparing for a revolution of sorts in the power sector in Nigeria and that is why we have decided to massively develop manpower in that sector in collaboration with the French Government and Schneider Electric of France,” a visibly elated Kuku said.
He disclosed that the projection of the Nigeria government is to generate and distribute between 8,000 and 10,000 megawatts of electricity by the end of 2015.
“Several of the power installations that would aid the attainment of this goal are located in the Niger Delta. If we don’t train persons in the Niger Delta that would be deeply and properly involved in the generation and distribution of electricity, we may not attain this visionary goal of President Jonathan. This collaboration with the French Government and Schneider Electric of France is geared towards expediting the ongoing transformation in the power sector in Nigeria under the able leadership of President Jonathan”, the Special Adviser added.
He thanked the French Government and Schneider Electric for naming the ultra-modern training college after Boro.
“While he was alive, Major Isaac Adaka Boro showed direction to our people. He remains a legend who showed light to the people. Boro fought for a unified Nigeria during the very unfortunate Nigerian civil war and died in the process and it is only fitting that he is duly immortalized with a befitting edifice that will aid all efforts to bring light, development and progress to not just his beloved Niger Delta but Nigeria as a whole. Wherever he may be today, I know, Major Isaac Adaka Boro will be very happy with us all”, Kuku averred.
Speaking at the event also, the Nigerian Ambassador to France, Hakeem Suleiman, lauded Schneider and the French Government for deeming it worthwhile to established a training institute purposely designed to help meet the power needs of Nigeria.
“Prior to today’s commissioning of the Isaac Boro Technical College, I had the honour of touring and inspecting the facilities here. The institute is first class and it is among the best of its kind. Even more important, the establishment of the technical college in France is a reflection of the strategic partnership that exists between Nigeria and France. I can assure the French Government that the Nigerian students will acquire the requisite skills and return home to apply these skills to deepen the transformation agenda of our dear President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. It is truly a huge milestone that we have achieved today,” Ambassador Suleiman said.
The Chairman/CEO of Schneider Electric, Mr. Jean-Pascal Tricoire, reiterated the firm’s commitment to the total transformation of the power sector in Nigeria.
“The lack of trained engineers in the electrical and energy fields is a major obstacle to the successful and sustainable development of a number of regions in emerging economies. It is in recognition of this fact that Schneider is pledging to assist Nigeria in human capacity building in the power sector.
“Schneider Electric, with the support of France’s Education Ministry, is proud to work alongside the Nigerian government in the Amnesty programme for skills development and access to employment through this training initiative for the local population,” Tricoire said.
The Isaac Boro College is located in the main university area in Grenoble, in a building purpose-built by Schneider Electric. It houses three laboratories for practical classes, equipped with banks of equipment and products to provide training on domestic and industrial electricity applications, including automation and medium voltage. The building also houses several conventional classrooms.
Teaching staff have devised a specially tailored course, designed to meet specifications laid down by the Nigerian government, paying particular attention to practical exercises to ensure students are fully operational as soon as they complete their year’s course. All training is delivered in English.