Port Harcourt — The Nigerian Government has been urged to invest and develop other renewable sources of energy in the country, including solar energy, wind energy, coal energy, and nuclear energy, as alternatives to the recurrent low oil prices and for economic growth.
A legal practitioner who specializes in energy law, oil and gas practice, Dr. Samuel Chisa Dike, who made the call while speaking exclusively to our correspondent in Port Harcourt, said the absence of alternative sources of energy is a great concern for the country.
Dike who is also a lecturer of Oil and Gas Laws, in the Department of Public Law, Faculty of Law at the Rivers State University, RSU, also blamed the country’s economic woes on over-dependence on oil, instead of developing alternative energy sources and a failure to plan by the successive leaders of the country.
He pointed out that the poor and epileptic power supply in the country could be curbed by alternative energy, such as coal, solar, wind and nuclear energy, which he said could be used to power most of the industries in the country to enhance production.
According to him, “Nigeria is so blessed with abundant natural resources that we are not able to harness them. Now talking about the energy resources outside oil, some countries in the world depend on solar energy (photovoltaic) to power their economy, by so doing, they de-emphasize on oil because the oil will dry up someday.
“What we are experiencing today is a tip of the iceberg of what will happen in the next 20-30years. When the oil dries up, you will go to Nembe, no oil; you go to Brass no oil, what will happen? The low oil price is a tip of the iceberg that we must begin now to prepare for tomorrow.
“So with solar energy, we will be able to preserve our oil and use the energy from the Sun to power the industries; use the solar energy to create market and to create employment. Because when we talk about economic growth; it is not only about macro-economic growth, but also about macro-economic growth, we are talking about small scale businesses; we are talking about both manufacturing, industrial and all that put together.
“The government should also develop our Wind energy, we can develop wind farms. Wind energy can also power some of the industries in the country. The Nigeria steel industry is in comatose because of power; power is the most important thing, we can, therefore, use wind energy to power it and also have a backup.”
The University teacher also advocated for the development of coal energy, following the huge coal deposit in Nkalagwu, Enugu State, while adding that the coal energy in Enugu could be developed to power industries in the South-East region.
“The coal industry in Enugu is today in comatose. The Igbo ethnic group in Nigeria are so technically inclined that with a little electric power, they will develop. So the coal industry in Enugu should be developed to power all the industries in the South-East because that is another way of empowering the people of that region and creating GDP out of it.
“Nigeria is so blessed, we have radioactive materials here that can also power our nuclear industries, our Nuclear energy has not been harnessed, we have Nuclear Regulatory Authority that has been in existence for over a decade now, but it only exists in papers, not in practice”.
“The absent of these other energy sources is a great concern; it is one of the causes of the problem we are facing today. If we had other energy sources, we would not be talking about low oil price because we could have anticipated that it will come. Oil prices in the international market fluctuate, it is determined by the international market, it is not about Nigeria, it is not even about OPEC.
“OPEC no longer as the monopoly of power to determine oil prices, Nigeria is just one player in a team of twelve, so what will you do if eleven says this is what the price is going to be? So we must face the realities that failure to plan by successive leaders has brought us into this state, it is not about the current administration, the problems have been there, it is endemic”.