FOUR years after it was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), the National Biofuel Policy remains largely unimplemented, leaving the nation at the mercy of Premium Motor Spirit (fuel) and diesel.
Conscious of this, the Federal and state governments yesterday met in Abuja to re-energise the implementation of the policy and other related renewable energy programmes.
The focus of the implementation, which included farmers across the nation, was the need for greater awareness on the economic potential of a non-food crop, Jatropha Curcas seeds, thereby promoting the use of Jatropha Curcas oil, as a renewable fuel in Nigeria.
Special Adviser to the President on Energy and Director General, Energy Commission of Nigeria, Prof. Abubakar Sambo, said at the meeting yesterday that renewable and alternative sources of energy were essential for sustainable energy development in Nigeria.
Also, Minister of Science and Technology, Ita Okon Ewa, disclosed that some state governments were already working with the private sector to establish Jatropha farms in their states.
He pledged the technical support of his ministry to ensure that such collaborations materialise into biofuel production.
Ewa said: “The Jatropha plant as we are aware is very common and grows in almost all parts of this country. What we are expecting from the resource persons and experts at this workshop is the best modalities on effective Jatropha farming and seed harvesting as well as the process of extracting the diesel from the seeds.”
Sambo said: “Biofuel is a new and renewable energy source that needs to be promoted in the nation’s energy supply mix for the purpose of enhanced energy security and global warming mitigation.
“Bio-fuels are used in transportation and stationary engines for power generation. Jatropha Curcas is a non-food plant that produces seeds, which are found to have 30 per cent to 40 per cent oil from which bio-diesel can be produced. The plants are available in most states of the country.”
On the national biofuel policy, he stressed: “The Federal Government has a national biofuel policy. It was approved by the Federal Executive Council in 2007. Like other energy related policies, the implementation is very low. That is why in recent times we have decided to take the issue to all tiers of government. The National Assembly would soon have a bill for an all-encompassing energy law that will bring all these sub-energy laws under one roof, so that the issue of implementation will be a matter of time.”
Sambo added: “Our country is so big and the interest all over the place is huge. The basic issue is that we need to educate, enlighten and sensitise Nigerians. Nigeria is a major oil producer. That oil is something that is exhaustible in some decade to come. So we need to wake up to the fact that we have other resources.
-Latest Nigeria News
By Emeka Anuforo, Abuja