By Simon Ebegbulem
BENINâ€”Vice-Chancellor of the University of Benin, UNIBEN, Professor Osayuki Oshodi, yesterday said the nation urgently required clean and reliable energy services to meet its long term needs for sustainable industrial development.
He said the ultimate objective of Nigerian researchers was to reduce dependence on coal, oil and natural gas, fossil energy resources which, according to him, had been linked to climate change.
His observation comes as Edo State Commissioner for Energy and Water Resources, Mr Alex Okoh, lamented that the short supply of energy in the country has crippled vibrant industries, many of which have relocated to neighbouring countries that could provide adequate energy supplies.
However, Professor Oshodin, who spoke while declaring the first Jathropha Cultivation and Biofuel Production Workshop/Training open at the university, organized by the National Center for Energy and Environment, NCEE, in collaboration with Edo State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, noted that the high biomass production potential in the agricultural sector of the country, had generated opportunities for alternative energy as a rural development strategy.
Expressing confidence that the Energy Commission of Nigeria would in the nearest future provide reliable energy that would boost industrialization in the country, the vice-chancellor explained that the â€œJatropha feedstock is a vast source of biofuel which reduces our dependence on fossil fuel, with significant environmental benefits, valuable multipurpose ability to alleviate soil degradation, desertification and deforestation.
â€œSince two-third of our population derive their income in agriculture, Jatropha base cultivation, as a dedicated crop, will have a huge potential for improving the livelihood of many.”
Earlier in his address, the Director of the NCEE, University of Benin,Â Professor Lawrence Ezemonye, explained thatÂ “advances in the use of dedicated biofuels, are efforts to mitigate environmental impact on climate change, safeguard energy demands and national security and develop sustainable renewable energy models.
â€œAt the end of this training workshop, pilot Jatropha farms will be established in the Faculty of Agriculture and Botanical garden of Department of Plant and Biotechnology. The formal inauguration of Jatropha Farmers Association, Edo State branch, will be done,â€ he said.