By Onuminya Innocent
The Governor of Kebbi State, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, has said that it is high time Nigeria explored its abundant solar energy to generate electricity.
Bagudu stated this on Monday at the Sultan Maccido Quranic Institute, Sokoto during the 38th National Solar Energy Forum (NASEF) organised by Solar Energy Society of Nigeria in collaboration with Usman DanFodio University, Sokoto and Energy Commission.
Bagudu, who was the guest speaker at the forum, called on relevant stakeholders in the country especially chemical engineers to look into alternative energy at the local and state levels, and at the same time, encourage research activities based on Nigeria’s local resources and challenges.
Bagudu further stated that if energy researchers do not rise up to the challenges, Nigeria will remain a purchaser or recipient of energy from foreign countries whom he said Nigeria had comparative advantage over.
“As you all know, Nigeria is endowed with abundant renewable energy resources with an average annual solar incident of about 1,831.06KWH with a total land area of 923,768km’2,” he added.
On his part, the chairman of the occasion and Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, represented by the Director General of Energy Commission, Prof. Elijah J. Bala, said the theme of the event “Solar Energy post Covid19 Economy” is apt and timely.
According to Onu, “Covid-19 has ravaged concomitant impact on Nigerian economy, which is dependent on about 90 per cent of its foreign earnings from crude petroleum export as a commodity due to crash in price of oil.
“It is a common knowledge that our economy has again gone into recession due to low demand in oil and consequent low price.”
He said if the country is to make a meaningful progress and development it has to embrace science and technology and innovation.
Onu disclosed that the Muhammadu Buhari administration through the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology for the first time in the history of this nation, has placed emphasis on science, technology and innovation as the instrument for sustainable development
He said the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan, 2020 put together to mitigate the effects of Covid-19 on the Nigerian economy, recognized the place of solar energy in reinvigorating the economy.
In his remark, the President of Solar Energy Society of Nigeria, Prof. I. J Dioha, said if Nigeria’s renewable energy is harnessed, it will revamp its economy and will create 250,000 jobs for our teeming youths.
He called on the executive and the legislature to make energy law to give standard that should be implemented.
Earlier, the Vice-Chancellor, Usman DanFodio University, Sokoto in his welcome address, said the university is a hub of solar energy because of its comparative advantage of sunlight.
He advised governments to look into solar energy as a source of alternative power supply because it is cost effective.
Notable Nigerians including Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto, Dr Muhammad Bello of Zamfara, Senator Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State and others received award at the event.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, was represented by Prof. Junaidu Sambo, the Waziri Sokoto.