By Chijioke Okoronkwo, Abuja.
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo says the use of gas as a transition fuel will help Nigeria in stemming deforestation and advancing its broader development goals.
He also said that Nigeria, which had one of the largest gas reserves in the world, deserved to reap more benefits from it.
Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, said the vice-president spoke when he received the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy on Climate Change, John Kerry, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday
Kerry was on a working visit to Nigeria and prior to his meeting with the vice-president, he had met with President Muhammadu Buhari.
Osinbajo said that other developing countries would also benefit from the adoption of gas as a transition fuel.
He highlighted the need for Nigeria to continue the exploration and use of gas as a way of arresting deforestation.
He said that it would also help Nigeria in transiting from dirtier fuels like diesel, kerosene and petrol, while, at the same time, ensuring that the country had the necessary energy baseload for industrialisation.
Osinbajo reiterated that Nigeria had one of the largest gas reserves in the world and should benefit from its exploitation.
He also highlighted the significance of Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan (ETP), which was the first in Africa.
Osinbajo had discussed the ETP during his recent visit to Washington D.C., where he met with his American counterpart, Kamala Harris, at the White House, among other top U.S. government officials.
Prior to the recent U.S. trip, the Federal Government had launched the ETP at a global virtual event.
The vice-president and Kerry also discussed the issues of renewable energy sources and the global transition.
In his remarks, Kerry lauded the plan and efforts already being made in Nigeria to step up the use of renewables, especially solar and hydro-power, as major components of the energy mix.
He acknowledged that Nigeria ought to benefit from its gas reserves and called for an even more rapid adoption of renewables, especially electric vehicles, which were certainly the next wave in auto-manufacturing.
Kerry observed that the technology of renewables had improved daily, adding that there were batteries were in production, which lasted far more than those that were already in the market.
Upon a request by the vice-president, Kerry pledged that U.S. would assist Nigeria with the expertise to scientifically determine the most appropriate energy mix toward the goal of attaining Energy for All by 030 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2060, without compromising the country’s energy security.
The U.S. special envoy also affirmed the readiness of the U.S. Government to assist Nigeria, through a bilateral partnership, to realise its climate change adaptation and resilience capacity, thereby consolidating the nation’s place as a model for other countries.
He also said that he looked forward to Nigeria presenting an inspiring position, which would, undoubtedly, attract all necessary global support at the upcoming COP 27 in Egypt later in the year.
Kerry was accompanied by top U.S. officials, including the American Ambassador to Nigeria, Ms Mary Leonard.