South Korea government has offered to assist Nigeria with electricity supply by developing Nigeria’s nuclear energy options that will enable the country close the current power deficits in its electricity generation and supply. Speaking at an interactive session with the Senator Gabriel Suswam, led Senate Committee on Power, the Ambassador of South Korea to Nigeria, Kim Young Choe said that the doors of his country are opened if Nigeria ever wants to look in the direction of utilising nuclear energy to solve its electricity challenges. According to the envoy, the nuclear energy options currently utilised in the United Arab Emirate(UAE) is based on South Korea model and powered by South Korean companies; stressing that Nigeria can avail itself of similar opportunity.
The meeting which was at the instance of the Senate Committee, was to clarify certain issues with regard to the stand alone mini-grid project to be funded by the Korean government as a gift to Nigeria. The mini-solar grid project is valued at $12.4 million(approximately N7billion). Presenting the details, the South Korean ambassador who confirmed that the project is a grant from his country to Nigeria and not a loan, also said that all the 4 mini-grids will be sited in Abuja with the works and maintenance of the project handled by South Korean contractors. Though the Senate welcomed the Korean gift, but members of the Committee raised some issues on the decision of the Korean government to have all the mini-grids sited in Abuja.
Suswam however pushed even stronger with appeals to the Korean government to consider a wider spread that will leave Abuja with only 1 mini-grid and at least two mini-grids in each of the six geopolitical zones of the country. According to him, the $12.4m being proposed for 4 mini-grids in Abuja will be enough to build 12 mini-grids even though with smaller capacity but with greater desired impact across the country. In his presentation, Managing Director/CEO, Rural Electrification Agency(REA), Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad harped on the need for the Korean gift to be better spread in the same manner suggested by the Senate. Outside the issue of spread and value for money, the Managing Director raised concerns about the sustainability of the project as well as the possibilities of having Nigerian companies work on the project. In his response, the South Korean Ambassador said that even though what the Senate has asked for is hefty and beyond him, he will forward the Nigerian request to his government in Seoul