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Nigerians lose N10.8bn to generator fuel – EU

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Head of delegation of the European Union (EU) in Nigeria, Kurt Cornelius, has said no fewer than 81 million Nigerians, representing 45 per cent of the country’s population, lived without access to electricity. The EU envoy also disclosed that Nigeria expended an estimated $30million (about N10.8billion) annually to buy petrol and diesel to power generating sets in various households. He spoke just as Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State called for proper legislation in the country to ensure effective participation of state and local governments in the power sector. Cornelius spoke at the weekend during inauguration of 85KWP solar hybrid mini-grid project at Gbamu-Gbamu village, Ijebu East Local Government Area of Ogun State.

The project was collaboration with the EU and German government under the Nigerian Energy Support Programme (NESP) of the federal government with technical support from USAID. Five states including Ogun, Sokoto, Niger, Cross River and Plateau, were selected for the pilot scheme. Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, represented by the Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, Suleiman Zarma; German Consular- General, Ingo Herbert and his counterpart from United States, John Bray, were in attendance.

According to Cornelius, 45 per cent of Nigeria’s population was still without electricity while the remaining 55 per cent with access often battled with epileptic power supply. He observed that the huge amount of money being expended on fuel for generators would not only have negative impact on Nigeria’s economy but also on the nation’s environment. The envoy urged stakeholders to salvage the power situation in the country, noting that rural electrification, through renewable energy had remained the only catalyst capable of improving the nation’s economy. Cornelius stressed the need to search for alternative and cleaner energy, which according to him was cost-effective and safer. He, however, disclosed that the EU had earmarked 150million Euros for the development of renewable energy in Africa, which would also benefit Nigeria.

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