Regional Director of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), Jean Bakole, has said that 85 million Nigerians, summing up 43% of the entire country’s population, lack access to power from the grid.
Mr Bakole who made this revelation on Thursday, October 28, 2021 while speaking at the stakeholders validation workshop on Bioenergy and Biofuels potentials assessment in the Nigeria sugar industry, disclosed that the sugar industry had the potential to address the energy deficit problem in Nigeria.
He said that the lack of access to electricity was limiting the country’s economic potential, adding that the key elements to a buoyant and successful economy is adequate energy supply.
“In Nigeria today, about 85 million people lack access to power from the grid, that is about 43% of the Nigerian population. This practically limits the economic potential of the country but one thing is certain, there are options to address this national problem. What we need is the collective will to do it,” Mr Bakole said.
“The sugar industry also gives an option to contribute to addressing the problem of energy deficit in Nigeria. This has been proven in countries like Thailand and India. We need to use what we have to get what we want,” he added.
On his part, the Prof. Eli Jidere Bala, the Director-General/CEO Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN), commended UNIDO for not relenting with its effort to execute the Wastes to Energy (Wealth) initiative in Nigeria despite the setbacks experienced since 2012.
He said the processing of sugar cane and other agro produce had generated a considerable amount of waste in the country that should be converted to useful energy.
Acknowledging that Nigeria is blessed with abundant energy resources, the ECN boss however noted that energy generated from fossil fuel have been unable to address the problem of power generation in the country.
“Nigeria is blessed with abundant energy resources (fossils and renewables) that can be easily exploited and transformed into electricity, fuels and heat. The irony is that only about 40% of the population of this same resource-rich country has access to electricity and the proportion of electricity access is even much lower in rural areas. For decades, efforts towards addressing this ugly situation had been on fossil fuels without much success,” he said.
“ But, today, we are here because we strongly believe in the diversification of the nation’s energy supply mix to include all energy resources in their right proportion for sustainable development. This can be achieved by generating electricity within the load centres using energy resources available to them.”
By Ayomide Emeka Joseph