Prof. Babatunde Rabiu, Director, Centre for Atmospheric Research, National Space Research and Development Agency (CARNASRDA) said diversifying energy could boost development and enable Nigeria attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
Rabiu, on Wednesday in Abuja said that dependency on a single source of energy was impeding societal development and national growth.
According to him, Nigeria is divinely endowed with natural resources which include crude oil, solid minerals discovered in more than 500 locations across the country.
He said that SDGs seven and eight focused on ensuring access to affordable, reliable and modern energy, as well as decent work and economic growth, which the country needed to take seriously.
According to him, energy generated by the few dams, hydro-power stations and distributed by companies are insufficient to meet the demands of the citizenry, hence the reoccurring, epileptic power supply in the country.
“It is evident that the supply of energy in Nigeria which is best described as epileptic power supply is far below the demand for it.
“Nigeria is one of the few countries with natural endowment of abundant energy resources such as coal, natural gas, crude oil, hydro, bitumen, solid minerals, solar energy and other renewable energy sources.
“These resources can be utilised to generate energy. It will also help the country achieve the SDGs by the UN General Assembly for 2030,’’ he said.
He further explained that since the discovery of crude oil in the late 1950s, Nigeria had paid less attention in tapping other natural resources which had impeded national development.
“Coal which could be found in Adamawa, Anambra, Bauchi, Benue, Cross-River, Edo, Enugu, among other states was estimated to be in excess of 2.5 billion tonnes in the late 1950s.
“The mining of coal was disrupted by the civil war, but it was produced up to one million tonnes then.
“Nigeria’s bitumen reserve has been reported to be 27 billion barrels found then at the Benin basin in the eastern section of Okitipupa area of Ondo state,’’ he said.
He recalled that the report by the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development shows that exploitation of bitumen for energy generation was yet to be started.
He said that Nigeria was blessed with the big landscape that covers a wide land area of about 923 769 km2 and every region of the country with its natural mineral deposits.
According to him, the diversification of energy resources will be viable in such a way as to follow the multi-terrain landscape of the country for efficient energy generation.
He said that energy diversification if harnessed would broaden sources of national income, investment opportunities, job creation, clean energy, regular and affordable power, and economic growth among other benefits.
Rabiu said that effective legislation, policies favourable to energy generation should be encouraged and formulated by policymakers, as well as the enabling environment created for private sector participation in energy generation.
He also said that the curriculum of the country’s education system should be structured to address societal issues.
“Nigerian Energy Commission needs to be restructured such that it is further empowered and mobilised to ensure effective energy generation.
“A responsible education curriculum changes pro-actively with the needs of the society.
“For sustainable development in general, the tertiary institutions must increasingly direct its curriculum and research agendas toward issues that address SDGs,’’ Rabiu said.
According to him, tertiary education systems industries and government authorities must be effectively linked for effective national development.