By Jonathan Hindolo Kurabu
Headed by Engineer Abdul Njai, a team of engineers from NASSIT and State House held fruitful deliberations at the office of Superintendent, Dr. Rashid Ansumana, for the construction of an ultra-modern students’ hostel.
NASSIT Regional Manager, South, John Lamina said their presence on campus is a testament of the statement made by their Director General during an engagement with staff and students of Njala University last year. He on behalf of the DG and the Director of Investment allayed the fears of all about the completion of the project within specified timelines.
Engineer Abdul Njai, Project Engineer, Office of Presidential Infrastructure and Initiative said the construction of the hostel on Bo Campus, Towama Location is at the heart beat of President Bio adding that turning of the sod for the said construction will be done by HE Bio soonest.
Director, Physical Plants and Services, Njala University, Santigie Sesay lauded the timeliness of the project citing the overarching challenges posed as a result of the unavailability of students’ hostels. Similar sentiments were made by the campus Superintendent, Dr Rashid Ansumana and the Deputy Registrar Habib Kamara.
With a growing students ‘enrollment of over 10,000, the University can barely provide accommodation for 800 only.
Director of Surveys, Mohapewa Co. Ltd. James Moanah said they are at present doing the topographic survey in readiness for the turning of the sod.
NASSIT with support from State House is expected to complete the project in 18 (eighteen) months’ time. The 4 (four) storey building will provide accommodation for 416 students and it will be constructed on the former campus football field.
According to the design plan, recreational facilities including basketball court will be provided.
Students interviewed lauded President Bio and the NASSIT Director General for the attention given to their ailing hostel concerns but however craved the indulgence of NASSIT to also extend similar goodwill gesture to the Kowama location which houses the medical students with a population of over 3,000.
In another separate development, a high powered delegation comprising Engineers from African Union-New Economic Partnership for African Development (AU-NEPAD), representatives from the Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Ministry of Technical and Higher Education among others, concluded feasibility studies for provision of sustainable power solution for the Njala University’s main campus in Njala, Kori Chiefdom, Moyamba District.
The delegation which was led by the Minister of Energy, Alhaji Kanja Sesay inspected the University’s decrepit energy facilities and also explored possible ways to have an alternative power solution using a mini Grid Hydro power generation.
Minister of Energy, Aljahi Kanja Sesay on behalf of the Government and people of Sierra Leone welcomed the AU-NEPAD delegation adding that he is now fully confident and proud to saying that the worsening energy situation on Njala Campus will now be a thing of the past.
Knowing the peculiar situation that Njala finds itself in, Minister Kanja Sesay said as a Government, they have been busy looking for solutions to remedy the energy situation in Njala University. “Njala is far off the national grid, an isolated power solution is the only means to solve their problem’’ he opined.
He said among the list of early beneficiaries, Njala University was chosen because of the unacceptable 16% energy access figure owed highly to the precarious state of the energy quagmire in the country. He assured his listening audience that come December 2020, the whole of Njala Campus will be lit up.
AU-NEPAD representative, Mohamed Abdulsalam said their objective is to bring energy at the centre of development with the desired aim to build knowledge out of the project which he said is scalable and Njala will serve as the first point of call for experimentation and onward implementation in other AU Member States.
He said AU-NEPAD’s goal is to support their member states adding that AU is going through radical reforms to make it efficient and to be able to finance all operations of AU 100%. The Njala University Sustainable Power solution will be, according to Mr. Abdul Salam, mainly funded by contributions from Member States to which Sierra Leone is a prominent contributor.
Vice Chancellor & Principal, Professor Abdullah Mansaray on behalf of the University Court and Senate showered profuse thanks and appreciation on the delegation for considering Njala University as an early beneficiary in the wake of insurmountable energy challenge which has bedeviled University operations. “No intervention can be timely for us than solving our energy situation ’’ he said.
With a student population of over 3,500 and staff strength of over 300 on Njala Campus alone, least mentioning the host community, they all, he averred depend on a single 500 KVA generator whose energy generation has degenerated abnormally to 320 Kilowatts of energy out beating the University’s current demand of 600 kilowatts.
With a whooping and a neck breaking sum of One Hundred Million Leones weekly spent to generate electricity on Njala Campus alone, Professor Mansaray pledged to take absolute care of the services when given.
The AU-NEPAD Sustainable Solar Power solution is expected to be completed in December 2020.
It will make a dramatic twist for the highly needed power solution and Njala University Administration would save the Millions of Leones to finance other sustainable projects.