Owerri – Total Upstream Companies in Nigeria has inaugurated and donated a multi-million naira solar project to Don Guanella Centre, a physically challeged home in Nnebukwu in Oguta Local Government area of Imo.
Its Managing Director, Mr Nicolas Terraz, said this on Thursday at the inauguration of the solar project at the centre run by the Congregation of Servants of Charity for Mentally and Physically Challenged Persons.
He was represented by Mr Abiodun Afolabi, the Executive Director (Corporate Affairs) in the company.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the donation was in collaboration with the Nigeria Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Total Upstream Nigeria Limited (TUPIN), DW Partners-Sapetro, CNOOC and Petrobras.
Terraz said that the project was constructed two months ago in fulfilment of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals No.3 and No.7 to ensure good health, wellbeing, provision of cleaner, affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy.
“Two months ago, we embarked on the construction of this Solar Solution Project in fulfilment of these goals and today, we are happy to hand over a project capable of generating 46MWH of electricity annually through the use of solar photovoltac (PV) panels.
“In Total, we are committed to better energy and one of our cardinal CSR objectives is to promote environmental responsibility including access to clean and renewable energy, support the reduction of emissions, combat climate change and protect natural resources and biodiversity.
“The Solar Solution Project provides clean energy as an alternative source of electricity to power equipment in the home independent of the national electric grid,” he said.
Terraz said each of the five buildings in the centre was provided with solar power which ran independently, adding that with its completion, the institution would depend less on diesel generators for its electrical needs.
He said the project would also reduce environmental pollution as well as operational cost leaving more funds to meet other needs of residents in the centre.
“For more than 60 yeras, Total has been present in Nigeria, contributing not only to its economy, but also playing an important role in enhancing the quality of life of its citizens,” he said.
Rev. Fr. Jude Anamelechi, the Superior of Don Guanella Centre, said that the centre belonged to the Congregation of the Servants of Charity, a Catholic religious non-profitable organisation founded by Saint Luigi Guanella, an Italian priest at the beginning of the 20th Century.
He said the centre was rehabilitating mentally and physically challenged children who deserved to live and enjoy life like others, but were facing serious health challenges like epilepsy, Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy and autism.
According to him, the centre has since inception rehabilitated more than 100 persons with special needs, while some more are still at the centre as a result of the nature of their disability.
Anamelechi described the centre as a formation place for young men aspiring to the Catholic Priesthood, adding that they equally ran old people’s Apostolate which took care of 30 helpless and abandoned old people in the vicinity.
“The installation of the multi-million naira solar energy plant by the NNPC and Total Upstream Nig. Ltd. and partners has provided a big relief to the centre in the area of power supply.
“It has greatly improved the lives of our children here, especially in aiding health crisis at night. This project equally reduced the cost of powering the centre and eliminted pollution caused by the use of diesel,” he said.
The Reverend Father thanked the providers of the project and expressed optimism that the purpose for which the project was given would be achieved.
He identified other needs of the centre to include renovation of Sovico House and dilapidated poultry farm, construction of a multipurpose hall, training of the educators, upgrading of the bakery and equipping of the physiotherapy.
Anamelechi called for more partnership with corporate bodies, non-governmental organisations and public spirited individuals to implement the listed projects.
Eze Dele Odigbo, the Traditional Ruler of Nkweshi in Oguta, commended the donor companies for their gesture, noting that any act of kindness to people, especially the less privileged is an act towards God.
He urged philantropists to extend their hands of fellowship to children at the centre.
NAN reports that the high point of the programme was unveiling of the commemorative stone and inauguration of the centre by a representative of Governor, Barr. Alma Eluwa, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Gender Affairs and Social Development.
He was assisted by the representative of Most Rev. Anthony Obinna, the Archbishop of Owerri Catholic Archdiocese, Mosignor Kevin Akagha.
Present at the occasion were the representatives of NAPIMS Group General Manager, Alhaji Ja’faru Aliyu, the President, Parents Teachers Association of the Centre, Mrs Tina Ndukwu, priests, religious leaders and traditional rulers.