The Chief Operating Officer (COO), Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company Plc., Mr John Ayodele, raised alarm, yesterday over the shortage of power engineers needed to solve energy challenges in Nigeria.
Ayodele raised the alarm at the 11th Ralph Alabi Memorial Lecture organised by the Ikeja Branch of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) in Lagos and held virtually.
Speaking on the theme “Challenges in Electricity Distribution in Nigeria: What Engineers should do differently’’, he said that scarcity of power engineers began around year 2000 with the decline sustained.
He said that the trend was assuming a dangerous dimension which must be tackled through massive grooming of young engineers into the sector to address power challenges.
Ayodele, a fellow of the NSE, also called for measures and massive education to ensure that more young engineers cherish specialisation in the power arm of the profession to bridge the skills gap.
“There is a deficit of competent electrical/electronic engineers to solve the problem. Most of our undergraduates do not have power background and it is usually difficult to indoctrinate them.
He enumerated the different challenges in the three different stages of power generation, transmission and distribution.
Ayodele, who was the keynote speaker, however commended recent Federal Government’s intervention for mass distribution of pre-paid meters which, he noted, would boost power distribution and ensure effective metering.
“The era of estimated billing would soon be over. We want it to be over too because it is not profitable to the electricity distribution companies too,’’ he said.
He also said the Federal Government’s intervention also offered local engineers the opportunity to be part of meter manufacturing or assembly thereby reducing capital flight and boosting capacities of local industries.He said a meeting was also on-going between the CBN, the Ministry of Finance and the Presidency which would yield result within the next 70 days.
Earlier, Ayodele explained that DISCOS (electricity distribution companies) were losing revenue to estimated billing, power theft and g would resolve.vandalism which effective metering would resolve.
He also lamented government’s interference in regulation which, he said affected planning and investments in the power sector.
“Service reflective tariff was developed and imposed on us. It is an invention in Nigeria not practiced anywhere in the world,’’ he lamented.
Newly-elected chairman of the Ikeja Branch of the NSE, Mr Olutosin Ogunmola, said in his remarks that the branch would strengthen its Young Engineer’s Forum to encourage more engineers to major in power engineering.
Streetlight: Anambra Set For Solar Energy Option-Commissioner
The Anambra State Government says the switch from diesel powered streetlights to solar powered alternative will soon be completed.
Commissioner for Power and Water Resources in the State, Mr Julius Chukwuemeka, told The Tide’s source in an interview in Awka that the disruption in the streetlights project was due to the migration from diesel powered generators to solar powered energy .
Chukwuemeka said the diesel powered alternative had to be suspended because of its huge cost implication and adverse environmental effects..
He said the switch, which would be cheap and sustainable, would be concluded soon and streetlights restored.
According to him, the new system would also be made to run Independently without the danger of outage in transmission noting that the streetlights were also part of the state’s security architecture.
“Looking at what we had in the past, we noticed that hundreds of millions of Naira was being spent on diesel to power these generators, what this government is doing is to cut costs and achieve more.
“At that time, the price of diesel was between N200 and N250 per litre but now it is between N800 and N850 per litre, you can see that it is no longer cost effective to use generators.
“Diesel is also not very environment -friendly because of the emissions, so after our comparative analysis, we concluded that the best way to power the streetlights is to migrate fully to solar energy.
“We are considering energy sources that are cost effective and also amenable to a green environment, it should also be independent such that we don’t depend on the national grid,” he said.
Chukwuemeka said the solar energy source initiative was also being developed to power water schemes to drive public water supply projects in the state.
He said water supply had been restored at the State Secretariat complex, while the Iyiora pilot scheme in Anambra West was already functional with 5,000 gallons capacity reticulated solar motorised machine.
“However, we are discussing and working with EEDC to ensure that power supply hits 24 hours in most parts of the state and as you can see there has been overall improvement in power supply in Anambra,” he said.
NDLEA Recovers N8.8bn Tramadol, Nabs Suspect In Lagos
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has recovered about 13, 451,466 pills of tramadol 225mh worth N8.9 bililon in street value in Lagos .
Director, Media and Advocacy, Mr Femi Babafemi said this in a statement in Abuja.
Babafemi said operatives of the agency had also arrested the suspected drug baron, Chukwukadibia Ugochukwu, in connection to the recovered drugs.
He said the operatives raided one of the mansions of the suspect in the highbrow residential estate, Victoria Garden City, Lekki area of Lagos.
According to him, the arrest of Ugochukwu, who is the Chairman of Autonation Motors Ltd, was coming barely two months after NDLEA uncovered a methamphetamine clandestine laboratory in the residence of another suspected drug kingpin in the estate.
The Tide’s source reports that Chris Nzewi, was arrested on Saturday, July 30, along with a chemist, Sunday Ukah, who was said to have cooked the illicit drug for him.
At least, 258.74 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine and various precursor chemicals used for the production of the toxic drug were reportedly recovered from Nzewi’s home during his arrest.
Babafemi said following credible intelligence, NDLEA operatives on Friday, Sept. 30 stormed the Plot A45 Road 2 home of the 52-year-old billionaire drug kingpin.
“A search of the expansive mansion led to the discovery of 443 cartons of Tramadol Hydrochloride 225mg.
“This was in a carton which contained 13,451,466 pills of the drug, while some cartons were already burnt in a fire incident in the house same day,” he said.
Babafemi said that before his arrest, Ugochukwu, who hails from Ihiala Local Government area of Anambra had been on the agency’s watch list.
The suspect, he said, was as one of those behind the tramadol drug cartel in Nigeria.
“Preliminary investigation shows that he has about six mansions within the VGC. one of which he uses to warehouse the tramadol consignment, while he lives in another one at Plot Z-130 Road 67 and uses one as his office.
“Five exotic vehicles had also been located in two of his mansions, out of which two SUVs including a bulletproof jeep had been successfully removed to the agency’s facility,” he said.
Reacting to the latest drug haul, the Chairman, NDLEA, retired Brig.- Gen. Buba Marwa, commended the officers and men involved in the operation for their diligence.
Marwa also appreciated Nigerians for supporting the agency in its arduous task of ridding the country of the menace of drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking.
According to him, “I’ll like to reassure Nigerians and other stakeholders wherever they are located across the country.
“This assurance is coming beyond our preparedness to work with them on this onerous task of saving our people from the drug scourge.
“This partnership is a further warning to the drug barons and cartels that there is no hiding place for them anymore.
“This is because, we remain on their trail and we’ll always get them, “he said.
NCSU Tasks FG On Recovered Looted Funds
Following the successful conduct of its 12th Quadrennial Delegates Conference in Abuja on Wednesday, the Federal Council of the Nigeria Civil Service Union (NCSU), has called on the Federal Government to reinvest all recovered monies said to have been looted from the nation’s treasury by public office holders in employment generation ventures.
The union, which made the call in a communiqué issued at the end of the conference and signed by its new Chairman, Comrade Adoga Gupada Aruwa and Assistant General Secretary,Comrade Daniel Otakpo, applauded the committed efforts of the Muhammadu Buhari administration and the various anti-graft agencies including other relevant organs of government in recovering the looted funds.
The union also expressed deep concern on the present global economic recession being experienced by workers and Nigerians, with it attendant effects of further exposing them to untold hardship owing to the negative activities of some unpatriotic persons in the oil sector, thereby making it extremely difficult for payment of workers’ salaries and provision of resources for infrastructural development programmes of governmental levels.
It, therefore, called on the government to diversify the economy to other sources of revenue generation by paying particular attention to Mineral Resources, Tourism and Agricuture.
The NCSU equally stressed the need for reduction of the cost of governance in view of dwindling resources, and observed with dismay hundreds of billions of naira frittered away in the guise of security votes, and enjoined the government to be more prudent in resources allocation.
The conference-in session condemn in strong terms what it described as unfortunate and illegal the continued coercion of members of NCSU without their consent by forcefully deducting from the salaries “dues”, despite several circulars from the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, pointing out that this illegal act constitutes a breach and also an infringement on the right of such workers to belong to the union of their choice as guaranteed by the ILOC convention 87 and 98 and national laws of the country.
The union, therefore, called on the relevant agencies to enforce the right of workers to belong to a union of their choice, while at the same time, commending the Federal Government for keeping faith with workers by paying salaries and allowances of federal employees.
New officer selected at the conference to pilot the affairs of the union in the next four years include Comrade Adoga Gupada Aruwa, Chairman; Comrade Okwor Hillary Onyebuchi,Vice Chairman; and Comrade Akam Moses Oden,Treasurer.
Others are Comrade Greg Nwajei Peace Udoka,Trustee; Comrade Muhammed Babaniogu Kolo, Auditor; and Comrade Adelakan Adeyinka Olusola, Assistant Secretary.
The immediate outgone Chairman of the union, Comrade Timothy Odebunmi,in his valedictory speech, thanked the members for their support, and went ahead to list the modest achievements recorded by his administration in the past four years.
Odebunmi,who would be retiring from the civil service in the next few days, said his administration established an empowerment scheme where civil servants were trained and over 100 union members acquired tailoring skills and were empowered with some stipends. He stressed the need for the union members to close ranks as well as look inwards to fashion a way of solving problems collectively.
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