Diversify National Energy Sources, ERA/FoEN Tells Government

By Ikhili Ebalu, Benin City

Executive Director of the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria(ERA/FoEN), Godwin Uyi Ojo, has called on the government among other suggestions to “diversify national energy sources to encourage state and non-state actors, including NGOs and energy cooperatives; to develop mini-grid and off-grid solar energy systems to promote greater energy access by all; put an end to fossil fuel development and show commitment for renewable energy options and grow to become the renewable energy hub for (West) Africa.”

He made the call on the occasion of a discussion on life beyond oil with the theme “towards a post petroleum economy for Nigeria” organised by the ERA/FoEN in Benin City.

Going forward, he also asked the government to”halt investments in oil and gas sector and channel public finance, loans and subsidies from oil and gas sector and divestment of such funds to renewable energy sector.”

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He called on “Nigeria’s Green Bond, and the Bank of Industry to support and step up investments to individuals and Community Energy Cooperatives in the renewable energy sector while encouraging the renewable energy sector through subsidies, grants, and tax holidays including elimination or reduction of the Value Added Tax (VAT) from the current level of 7.5% as a crucial step to encouraging the transition.”

He affirmed that the government should”demonstrate political will and reduce corruption for renewable energy to thrive in Nigeria.”

Ojo advocated for the “inclusion of renewable energy technologies and climate change in the school curriculum to empower the youths and make them solutions to the national energy poverty.”

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Going down the line, Ojo demanded: “Inclusion of renewable energy technologies and climate change in the school curriculum to empower the youths and make them solutions to the national energy poverty.

“Increase advocacy and policy engagement with the government to embrace renewable energy and take action to put an end to oil and gas development.

“Encourage a national renewable energy policy that recognizes state and non-state actors in a decentralized energy production system as crucial for realizing the country’s existing huge gaps in citizens’ access to electricity.

“Demand federal, state and local governments’ involvement in the provision of mini-grids and off-grids solar systems and other renewable energy options.

“Conduct practical demonstrations and cluster community energy projects in the communities to promote access to cleaner energiesCommunities.”

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In his submission, Barrister Austin Osakue, the Executive Director of Foundation for Good Governance and Social Change, said that a post petroleum economy is feasible and practicable.

He accused the Nigeria elites of conspiring against all efforts to ensure that renewable energy is feasible as it is not friendly to their interest.

According to him, “a visionary leadership does not exist in Nigeria to overlook the inconvenience of today so as to have the convenience of tomorrow.”

Other discussants on the occasion were Chief Saint Emma Pii, Chairman of the Board of Directors of ERA/FoEN;  Barrister Nurudeen Ogbara, a legal luminary; Habiba Ali, a renewable energy entrepreneur and Adesuwa Jang, Project Officer, ERA/FoEN.

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