THE Group Managing director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, on Tuesday lamented that electricity remains a luxury and exclusive reserve of the rich.
The state-run oil firm chief said many Nigerians were still struggling to afford a day’s meal let alone electricity.
Kyari spoke at the Nigeria International Petroleum Summit in Abuja.
The summit with: Widening the integration circle: Technology, knowledge, sustainability partnership, as theme provided the opportunity for the signing of a $1.1 million grant between the country and the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) as part-funding for the Abuja Independent Power Project (IPP).
Kyari said the government must address the issue of power supply before it can go into renewable energy.
“For this country and very many of us in sub-Saharan Africa, what we worry about today is actually the meals of today. There are many who can’t afford a meal a day. And of course, electricity is largely a luxury; it’s only for the elite, like all of us here.
“It is the dream of very many to have I-pass-my-neighbour in their homes. When you say, ‘do not use fossil fuel,’ but you have not provided alternatives. The world has not looked at their situation. The world has not recognised that there is abject poverty in the communities.
“We have to resolve the issue of electricity so that we can talk about renewable energy in the future and reduce the use of fossil fuel that has a high impact on the environment. We know that there is an energy transition in the world. With time, there will be less dependence on fossil fuel,”Kyari said.
Kyari also said gas remains the cheapest source of power, and that efforts must be made to stop flaring it in the country.
“We have gas in abundance, we must create infrastructure that will help create gas for power generation.
“We need power to create jobs and we must create prosperity, so that we can have peace in our country.
“We are grateful for this grant,” he said.
USTDA Director, Thomas Hardy, said the grant was another demonstration of the U.S’ commitment to ensuring infrastructural development across the globe.
He said the grant would be used for feasibility study of the IPP and other infrastructure development projects in the energy sector