Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, a former President Nigeria has accused international oil and gas companies (IOCs) operating in the continent of sabotaging member states’ commitment to light up Africa and assist in laid out programmes for industrial energy needs.
Obasanjo said his conviction about IOCs subterranean activities followed his personal experience as a former president and the narratives of other African leaders.
Obasanjo, who spoke passionately at a high-level session on “Africa’s Energy: What’s the New Deal?”, at the ongoing 2016 annual general meetings of African Development Bank (AfDB) in Lusaka, Zambia, lamented that the IOCs preferred to burn the gas instead of building power plants that would have provided electricity for Nigerians.
The former two time Nigerian President said his then government’s proposal for the IOCs to establish plants that would convert gas to electricity was thwarted by their inordinate profit considerations.
“When I was President, I asked all IOCs operating in Nigeria to build plants that would convert gas into electricity, only Agip responded and built a power plant of only 3 megawatts, the others ignored the programme,” Obasanjo lamented.
According to him, Africa resources and potential over the years and now has made it imperative for all the stakeholders to converge under the AFDB leadership towards speedy electrification of the continent.
He argued that African governments to utilise available resources within a coordinated mix toward providing Africans the huge benefits of electricity power.
“I’m an environmentalist, I will not keep environment clean at the expense of power in Africa. Without coal, industrialisation would not have been possible in Europe and other developed world.
“We may not use coal like in the past, but let use a mixture of what we have – coal, gas, crude oil, sun, wind, etc to get what we want,” Obasanjo argued.
AfDB President, Akinwunmi Adesina, in his contributions said that the banks mission through the News Deal on Energy for Africa, aims at adding 160 gigawatts of electiricity to the continents energy profile.
The continental banks aggressive energy programme over a 10 years period, Adesina explained centers around exploiting to the fullest the huge energy potentials inherent on the continent.