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Nigerians invest billions on solar energy as power outages linger

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Despite huge budgetary allocations to the power sector from one administration to another, Nigerians have continued to spend their hard earned money, running into billions of naira, on installation of solar-powered energy.

One of the major issues Nigerians are battling is perennial epileptic power supply by distribution companies across the country.

It is therefore not a surprise that many of the citizens have resorted to using solar energy.

Recalled that successive administrations since the beginning of the fourth republic in 1999- Olusegun Obasanjo (1999-2007), Umar Musa Yar’Adua (2007-2010) Goodluck Jonathan (2010-2015) and Muhammadu Buhari (2015-2023) have taken several steps to confront the challenges militating against the power sector.

The different administrations have spent billions of naira revamping the sector in a bid to ensure stable electricity across the country.

Our correspondent recalls that the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) in 2017 disclosed how over N11 trillion meant for the provision of electricity supply was allegedly squandered by the Obasanjo, Yar’Adua and Jonathan administrations.

Several policies and reforms have also been introduced to tackle the problem in the power sector. One of the reforms was the privatisation of the power sector in 2013.

The regional electricity distribution companies that were formally owned and controlled by the government were sold to private individuals as part of the steps taken in reforming the sector.

The regional electricity distribution companies across the country include: Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC) Jos Electricity Distribution Company (JEDC) Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) and Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company (KEDC), Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, EEDC, among others.

However, despite all the efforts, Nigerians have continued to groan due to erratic power supply, which is largely blamed on inefficiency on the part of the Discos.

Oyo State is not different from other parts of the federation, as residents grapple with endless poor power supply, forcing some communities to stage protests in recent times.

Some of the communities that have witnessed such protests are Okeho, Olodo, Lalupon, Iwo Road, Apata, Apete and Awotan.

Residents of Okeho in Kajola Local Government Area have also staged protests to kick against the perceived injustice.

In September 2020, hundreds of residents of Apete, Awotan, Arola, Araromi took to the streets to protest against poor supply of electricity.

The residents of the communities also in May 2021 protested poor supply of electricity in their communities.

DAILY POST reports that despite all these protests by the electricity consumers, the situation remains the same across the country.

To survive the ordeal, many residents have now found solar energy as an alternative.

Checks by DAILY POST reveal that many Nigerians are currently spending their hard earned money which is running into millions of naira on installation of solar energy.

A resident of Ogbomoso, Mr Felix Okunade said: “It is no longer news that we experience poor supply of electricity in Oyo state. You can’t rely on it, they will definitely disappoint. Even though we recharge prepaid metres, it still seems useless, there is darkness everywhere.”

A resident of Igboora in Ibarapa Central Local Government Area, who asked not to be mentioned, maintained that electricity supply has been turbulent in the town for the past one year.

“I am living in Igboora, Ibarapa Central Local Government Area of Oyo State. I started using the solar power system as an alternative last year, 2022.

“Up till now, there are no regrets. Solar power system is not better than hydro energy so to speak. This is because of cost implications and non-availability of sunlight overnight. The system is also limited by the capacity of batteries and the number of solar panels,” he said.

Experts, stakeholders speak, express divergent views

A solar energy installer, Mr. Biodun Adebayo, who spoke to DAILY POST, explained that solar energy is increasingly adopted in Nigeria due to a number of reasons.

Adebayo revealed that Nigeria is facing significant challenges in providing reliable electricity to its population.

Adebayo said, “Solar energy is being increasingly adopted in Nigeria due to several compelling reasons. Nigeria is blessed with a high level of solar radiation, especially in the northern region. This means that there is an ample amount of sunlight available throughout the year, making solar energy a viable and reliable source of power.

“Nigeria faces significant challenges in providing reliable electricity to its population. The national grid is often unreliable, resulting in frequent power outages and insufficient access to electricity, particularly in rural areas.

“So, solar energy offers a decentralised solution, allowing individuals and communities to generate their own power independently.

“Considering Nigeria’s population of over 200 million people and the increasing interest in solar energy in recent years, let’s assume a conservative average spending of $5,000 per residential solar energy system. This estimate includes the cost of solar panels, inverters, batteries (if applicable), installation, and associated components.

“If we assume that a small percentage of Nigerian households, say 1%, have installed solar energy systems, the calculation would be as follows: 1% of Nigerian households = 0.01 * 200 million = 2 million households. Estimated spending: $5,000 per 2 million households. Estimated spending is = $10 billion.”

Mr Idris Akinloye, a graduate of Physics from Osun State University, who specialises in atmospheric physics and renewable energy (solar energy), said that the usage of solar energy in Nigeria as source of power is due to epileptic and interrupted power supply from the main source.

He noted that the average cost of solar energy is a minimum of N120,000.

“I am a renewable energy (specifically solar energy) consultant, technician and installer. Usage of solar energy in Nigeria as a source of power is due to epileptic and interrupted power supply.

“It depends on what to power but the average cost can be as low as N120,000. Estimates can be placed in the billions range,” he added.

Another solar energy installer and a graduate of Computer Science and Engineering from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) Ogbomoso, Prince Abdulahi Adeyemi said that solar energy had provided employment opportunities for many youths.

“We do not have stable electricity and people have decided to use the alternative source of energy which is solar. It has created more jobs for many youths. That is one of the benefits,” he noted.

Also, a specialist in solar energy solutions who lectures at the Department of Science Laboratory Technology, The Polytechnic, Ibadan, Mr Azeez Jelili explained that many Nigerians are now using solar energy as a source of power due to the recent high cost of the prices of petroleum products.

He said, “The major reason for the adoption of solar energy in Nigeria is because of non-availability of power supply and recent high cost of the prices of petroleum products.

“The only challenge is the initial cost of solar energy installation, apart from that, it is safer and cost effective compared to other sources of power”.

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Police Rejects Tainted Recruitment List, Demands Transparency

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– Police discovers anomalies in recruitment list
– List contains unqualified and medically unfit candidates
– IGP demands transparent review of recruitment process

The Nigeria Police Force has rejected the Police Service Commission’s recruitment list due to alleged irregularities and corruption.

The list contained names of unqualified and medically unfit candidates who did not apply or failed the recruitment exercise.

Furthermore, the police spokesman, ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, revealed that the list included individuals who were disqualified due to financial dealings and corrupt practices.

The Inspector General of Police, IGP Olukayode Egbetokun, has written to the Chairman of the Police Service Commission objecting to the list.

Consequently, the police have dissociated themselves from the published list and called for a transparent review of the recruitment process.

“The same people who recruited anyhow for the police today will turn round to accuse the police tomorrow of inefficiency when their recruits start messing up,” Adejobi stated.

The police are determined to recruit “qualified, competent, trainable, and productive hands into the Nigeria Police Force.

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Rivers Varsity Suspends Four Students Over Brutal Assault

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– Four students suspended for assaulting a colleague
– Suspension lasts for one academic session
– Students urged to live in peace and harmony

The Rivers State University has suspended four students linked to the brutalization of their colleague, Victor Tobins. The students, who are members of the Man O’ War, were suspended for one academic session.

According to the university’s management, the students’ actions contravened the institution’s regulations. Management saw the actions as contrary to the regulations of the University.

The students had beaten Tobins, a 300-level student, black and blue, inflicting injuries on his right eye and other parts of his body. The development sparked a protest among students, who demanded the disbandment of the Man O’ War from campus.

The university’s management intervened, promising to take action within 24 hours. The management has since suspended the four students, urging students to live in peace and harmony.

“We urge the student population to continue to live in peace and harmony and comply scrupulously with all the rules and regulations of the University,” the management said.

 

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