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The Adequacy or Otherwise of the Functionality of the Rural Electrification Agency in the Nigerian Electricity Sector

The Adequacy or Otherwise of the Functionality of the Rural Electrification Agency in the Nigerian Electricity Sector. 

By Oketoyin Dorcas Adenike


Statistics has shown that with an estimated national electrification rate of 55% and a rural electrification rate of only 39%, Nigeria has one of the lowest net electricity generation per capita rates in the world. Nigeria will need to connect 500,000–800,000 households annually, with a focus on rural areas, in order to attain universal access to electricity by 2030.[1] and to promote universal access to affordable and sustainable electricity and enhance the quality of life and economic opportunities for rural, unserved, and underserved communities in Nigeria, the Electricity Act, 2023[2] establishes the Rural Electrification Agency. Rural electrification can be defined as the provision of electricity to areas of low demand and highly dispersed potential consumers. This agency is tasked with coordinating corporate bodies and private investors using renewable energy sources for rural electrification in these areas—which, however, includes places that are interior and possibly beyond the view of international communities. The Nigerian Federal Government has mandated that all developed and underdeveloped areas of the nation be electrified; one agency tasked with carrying out this mission is the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) of Nigeria. The purpose of this is to provide a high return on investment through appropriate charging that is both supportive of the typical rural client and economically responsive. Nigeria’s Rural Electrification Agency was established because it is believed that no country can advance without first addressing its grassroots issues. As a mediator between the government and those in the interior of the nation about energy, one of the agency’s tasks is to coordinate the nation’s rural electrification projects.


Based on the objectives of the Rural Electrification Agency, in order to determine whether this agency has been adequately functional in operation, it will be pertinent to consider the achievements of the Rural Electrification Agency in the rural, unserved and underserved communities in Nigeria.

The mini-grid component of the program has accelerated the intended impact in off-grid communities, with over 100 communities energized and over 7.3MW of PV capacity deployed through 83 solar hybrid mini-grids. Over 1.4 million connections with homes, MSMEs, and public spaces in off-grid communities actively using these systems have been made possible by the NEP’s solar home systems component.[3]

Also, Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP), one of the various electrification programmes implemented by the Agency was funded by the World Bank to achieve a milestone in its Solar Hybrid Mini-grid component. Under the Performance Based Grant (PBG) subcomponent of the NEP, the REA has successfully deployed 103 mini-grids throughout Nigeria, marking a significant advancement in improving access to electricity for households, micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), and public facilities in rural and underserved areas of the country as at August 23, 2023. With 46,661 verified connections to homes, MSMEs, and public spaces, the Solar Hybrid Mini-grid component has proven remarkably successful.

The Nigerian government has made significant progress in addressing the problems of intermittent electricity supply and rural electrification through a variety of reform initiatives. The power industry continues to face several obstacles in the form of limits on the transmission system, supply of gas, regulatory ambiguity, implementation of electricity policies, and significant planning deficiencies in the industry, despite its best efforts. These limitations have delayed rural electrification and prevented the sector from being commercially viable.

The World Bank notes that 85 million Nigerians lack access to electricity, and if left unaddressed, this figure is expected to rise to 94 million by 2030.[4] Many of the households in the rural areas in Nigeria are still facing the issues of underserved and unserved electrification system due to inherent challenges faced by the Rural Electrification Agency. These challenges includes lack of enabling regulations that would allow the private investors enter the sector; lack of data and inadequate funding. Despite the founding of the Rural Electrification Funds[5], a component of the Rural Electrification Agency charged with the responsibility of supporting support sustainable and renewable electrification projects for unserved and under-served communities through private and public sector participation, there has been lack of adequate funding to finance the objective of the REA which is why majority of the rural communities in Nigeria are still plagued with low electricity distribution.


A stable electricity source is a sign of a sophisticated economy. Any country that experiences epileptic supply of energy risks delaying its development and alienating potential investors. In the same sense, it is undeniable that energy is required to provide rural residents with a respectable standard of living. It may be necessary to integrate recent technology advancements that support renewable energy sources into the production and distribution of power in rural areas.


[1] Nweke-Eze C. “The Nigerian Electrification Project – An example of a successful rural electrification design?”, Research Institute for Sustainability (2022).

[2] President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, signed the Electricity Bill 2023 into law as Electricity Act, 2023 on the 8th of June, 2023. This Act repeals the Electric Sector Reform Act, 2005.

[3] Iniobong I., “Rural Electrification Agency has delivered power to over 7.5 million Nigerians – Salihijo Ahmad”, BusinessDay, (2023)

[4] Firstnews, “Salihijo transforming the Rural Electrification Agency with unprecedented achievements”, 2023.

[5] Section 142 of Electricity Act, 2023.


About the Author

Oketoyin, Dorcas Adenike is a law graduate from the University of Abuja, Abuja. She’s interested in learning the diverse aspects of law both in Nigeria and other jurisdictions which includes the Energy Law, Civil law, Family law and medical law.

She’s actively involved in Medical Rights and Advocacy Society (MAHRAS) and University of Abuja Tax Club. She has keen interest in learning and will love to get involved in volunteering work. She can be reached on or 08077139887


This work is published under the free legal awareness project of Sabi Law Foundation ( funded by the law firm of Bezaleel Chambers International ( The writer was not paid or charged any publishing fee. You too can support the legal awareness projects and programs of Sabi Law Foundation by donating to us. Donate here and get our unique appreciation certificate or memento.


This publication is not a piece of legal advice. The opinion expressed in this publication is that of the author(s) and not necessarily the opinion of our organisation, staff and partners.


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