In order to fast-track the socio-economic and technological development of the nation, Nigeria’s flagship oil and gas exploration and production company, the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and the world leading company in silicon innovation, technologies, products and initiatives, Intel Corporation, have challenged teachers and students in post primary schools across the country to show more interest and commitment to the teaching and learning of science-related subjects.
Both leading companies in their areas of concern, threw the bold challenge while speaking as major sponsors of the Sixth Nigerian Secondary Schools Science Fair and Quiz Competition at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST), Nkporlu, Port Harcourt, recently.
Shell General Manager, Social Performance and Community Affairs, Mr Tony Attah, who dissected the multinational oil and gas company’s huge investments in the education sector, especially in promoting science education in the country, and the Niger Delta region in particular, said only sustained efforts at teaching, learning and understanding the core sciences would put Nigeria on the right pedestal to jump-start its development aspirations in a technology-driven age.
Represented at the two-day event by the Manager, Social Performance and Sustainable Community Development, Mr Emeka Obi, he said that it was to encourage the realization of this vision that Shell initiated programmes, more than 50 years ago, to enhance the study and acquisition of science-laden knowledge and skills at post primary and tertiary levels of education in Nigeria.
The Shell manager noted that this has resulted in the sponsorship of 2,700 new secondary school and 850 university students every year, and a total 12,000 secondary school and 2,000 undergraduate scholarships annually.
According to him, Shell is also helping to boost education in Nigeria through the provision of school blocks, furniture, libraries, laboratories, and other initiatives, in addition to the practical, hands-on Shell Intensive Training Programme (SITP) to facilitate employment for university and polytechnic graduates in the strategic oil and gas industry.
He stated that in order to speedy up the deployment and application of modern technologies and scientific modules in the development process, Shell, Intel, the Education Trust Fund (ETF) and other stakeholders have collaborated to develop a web-based science and mathematics programme to boost information and communication technology (ICT) education in secondary school in the country.
In addition, he noted that the Nigerian Secondary Schools Science Fair and Quiz Competition was a rewarding initiative of the SPDC JV, Intel, ISED and CINFORES, to elevate interest and enhance performance in science subjects in the education system, and tasked stakeholders in the sector, especially state governments, teachers and students to key into the various initiatives aimed at advancing education standard in Nigeria.
Also speaking, Corporate Affairs Manager, Intel West Africa, Mr Olubunmi Ekundare, said with the initiative, the world leading silicon technology company has continued to fulfill its major objective of ensuring that quality education, particularly in mathematics, science and engineering is moved to the fore front of the development of education, which he noted was in line with the Federal Government’s Vision 202020 goal.
Ekundare stressed that the partnership with SPDC JV and the ETF to align secondary schools curriculum through the web-based skooolnigeria and brainfriendnigeria programme templates for teaching and learning was in tandem with Intel’s global World Ahead Initiative, conceived to connect the next billion people to uncompromised technology around the world, adding that with this, “Intel seeks to empower people to live better lives and reach their full potential”.
The corporate affairs manager pledged the readiness of Intel to strengthen its partnership with stakeholders to improve the standard of teaching and learning in schools, and implored both teachers and students in secondary schools across the nation to take advantage of the initiative to broaden interest and encourage robust and excellent performance in the school system, adding that science education was key to the nation’s greatness.
In his remarks, Executive Director, ISED, Dr Jerry Orhue, recalled that from a humble beginning in 2004, the Nigerian Secondary Schools Science Fair and Quiz Competition has become a melting point for the convergence and discovery of best talents and brains in science and engineering development in Nigeria.
Dr Orhue, noted that amazing whiz kids and youthful scientists discovered from the series of exhibitions and contests across the country have turned out to be world-class inventors and innovators, and stunning the scientific world with their creativity and courage.
He charged the students to relentlessly challenge their creative abilities even in the face of daunting impossibilities in order to excel, adding that if they explore further with determination to satisfy their curiosities, they could transform to be the world best.
Stakeholders Want Policies To Harness Gas Resources
An earlier plan by the defunct Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) to equalise the consumption of gas, especially Liquefied Petroleum Gas may no longer fly as the government said subsidising the transport cost of the commodity in the face of a liberal market may not work.
This is just as stakeholders were demanding for deliberate policies that would enable the country to harness gas resources to benefit from the global energy transition agenda.
While the defunct PEF had disclosed earlier this year that a scheme to pay for the transportation of gas as part of an effort to encourage the use of cooking gas in homes across the country was being considered, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) said such a move may be unnecessary.
Executive Director, Distribution System, Storage and Retail Infrastructure at NMDPRA, Ogbugo Ukoha said although Nigeria has gas in large quantities, bottlenecks undermine realisation of full potential.
Speaking in Abuja recently on equalisation for gas, Uhoha said: “the Act provides for liberalisation. We can’t set prices, we can’t equalise it.”
According to him, the market would stabilise at some point and deal with prevailing issues. The Independent Petroleum Producers Group (IPPG), headed by Abdulrazaq Isa, has also noted the right policies were necessary if Nigeria would benefit from its gas resources.
Stressing on the evolving industry landscape, ongoing industry reforms, IOCs’ divestment, and the role indigenous exploration and production companies can play in this new era in guaranteeing the nation’s energy security, Isa said: “Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind in view of the global energy transition agenda. Natural gas should be considered as a transition fuel with deliberate policies formulated to attract investment into the sector.”
While noting that the PIA enactment will set a solid growth foundation for the entire industry, the IPPG Chairman said it was imperative that effective regulations are formulated to derive the full benefits of the Act.
According to Isa, ‘’industry-wide consultation in the enactment of regulations is required to promote inclusivity and ensure robustness of regulations’’.
The IPPG Chairman also identified key challenges being faced by the industry in the areas of security, funding, high operating costs, lengthy contract cycle, amongst others.
’’We look forward to collaborating with the NUPRC in finding long lasting and sustainable solutions to these challenges,’’ Isa said.
Obasanjo Makes Case For Renewable Energy For Power Generation
Nigeria’s former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has urged the country to embrace renewable energy for power generation.
Obasanjo, who led the country as military Head of State between 1975 and 1979 and civilian President from 1999 to 2007, made the call, last Friday at the inauguration of a two megawatts, MW, solar power project at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital,
He said solar energy is remarkably cost effective as it costs less than two and half years’ supply of diesel to power the generators at the Library and that the project marks one of the enduring personal legacies he is proud to call his own.
“Today, I am speaking to you in a facility powered by the sun – solar energy. It is the way of a future Carter envisioned all those years ago. It will help build the future we want. The Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library solar power project is a reflection of our commitment to clean and renewable energy and is the single largest investment this not-for-profit organization has made.
“As large an investment as it is, it is remarkably cost effective. It costs less than two and half years supply of diesel to power our generators. So in diesel terms it pays for itself in less than 3years. So in effect the electricity it produces after three years is almost at no cost,” Obasanjo said.
He noted that solar energy does not emit any green house gases that diesel generators do, and that, as such, it has the potential to earn carbon credits which are currently priced at US$40 per ton.
He added: “Based on estimated annual production of 2,307,000 kilo Watt hours per year, we can expect to earn nearly US$39,589 in carbon credits per year.
“By monetising this facility with strategic sponsorships and marketing alliances we will be able to generate revenue.
“Combined, this solar facility can generate electricity, generate revenues that contribute to the upkeep of the library, help save the planet making a small contribution to climate mitigation and adaptation, provide shade for parking, and be an inspiration for future generations. Who says you can’t make a profit out of saving the planet?”
CSOs To Hold Confab On Fuel Subsidy Removal
Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Nigeria operating under the aegis of Civil Society Coalition for Economic Development (CED), on Thursday, said plans were afoot to organise a conference on ‘Fuel subsidy removal’ in Nigeria.
The coalition, which comprised 82 groups, disclosed this at a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, stressing that they were committed to pushing for subsidy removal as well as engaging other stakeholders in some sectors of the economy to see reasons with the government on the need to lay fuel subsidy payment to rest.
The convener of the group, Comrade Yusuf Dan Maitama, further said that the proposed theme of the conference is “Subsidy removal and the Future of Nigeria’s Economy,” adding that there was no better time for the total removal of fuel subsidy than now given the economic challenges the nation is going through.
According to the coalition, the conference which is slated for Tuesday and Wednesday next week will take place in Abuja and Lagos, featuring world-class resource persons in the oil and gas sector in order to refocus activities of Nigeria’s oil and gas sector and to secure the nation’s resources for its critical mass rather than private pocket benefactors.
The coalition lamented that the fuel subsidy regime which had been in place for the past 20 years, has enriched a few individuals and denied citizens of what was supposed to be a collective wealth, adding that moves by the present administration to end the subsidy regime were the right step.
Citing further reasons for the conference, the coalition posited that the Nigeria National Petroleum Company’s commitment to implementing a policy that ensures total removal of subsidy should be supported by all.
“The fuel subsidy regime has in the last 20 years done more harm than good to the economy of the nation and it appears Nigeria is the only country in the world that has a fuel subsidy regime in place.
“We have slated a conference for Tuesday and Wednesday, 2022 and we are going to assemble top class oil experts to speak on reasons fuel subsidy regime should be put to rest,” the group said.
Recall that the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, had a few days ago disclosed to the Senate Committee on Finance that the Federal government would offer a N5,000 transportation grant to poor Nigerians to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal in 2022.
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