To commemorate the World Energy Day in Abuja, the Nigerian Association of Energy Economics (NAEE) has mandated Nigeria to explore new market sources to boost access to energy.

Wumi Iledare, President, NAEE, who was represented by Adeola Adenikiju, Director, Centre for Petroleum, Energy Economics and Law, noted that there was inequity in energy access based on levels of income, and location in the country. This situation, he said, means that 52 per cent of Nigeria’s population does not have access to modern energy.

He added that 25 per cent of Nigeria’s population of over 170 million had regular access to electricity. The remaining 75 per cent, he said, make do with little or no electricity, adding that 45 per cent of the population was connected to the national grid.

He said: “This is very vital for our nation because despite the importance of energy to economic development, a large proportion of Nigerians have no access at all to modern energy, in particular, electricity, and for those with access, availability and quality remains a major concern. There is obvious inequity in energy access based on levels of income, and location. Access is nearly 100 per cent in developed countries, compared to 60 per cent in the developing countries. In 2011 alone, the IEA estimated that about 68 per cent of the people in sub-Saharan Africa were without access to modern energy and 52 per cent of Nigeria’s population falls in this category.

The NAEE president, said that incessant power outages and fuel scarcity were still common despite the huge investment in the sector by both government and the private sector.

According to him, it has been observed that a significant proportion of rural dwellers in Nigeria do not have access to electricity, with most relying on wood for fuel, which results in the death of 3.5 million people annually.

“Many who have had to rely on fuel wood are unaware of the staggering environmental impacts associated with its use. It has been estimated that Nigeria consumes over 50 million tonnes of fuel wood annually which has led to a deforestation rate of about 350,000 hectares annually and is equivalent to 3.6 per cent of our present land area of the country.

“In quantifying the numerous health dangers from the use of these fuels for cooking, it is estimated that nearly 3.5 million people die every year from smoke that comes from traditional fuels,” he said.

He added that until Nigeria resolved the huge electricity deficit, huge potentials of the economy would remain trapped and unavailable to current and future generations.

Maureen Nzeogu
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