Energy transition: FG, Gombe, NCDBM, APWEN, others urge women to take advantage

By Ebunoluwa Sessou

Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Sen. Olorunnimbe Mamora has said Nigeria’s progress depends on the ability to engage more women, particularly in engineering in the decision-making to enable sufficiency and sustainability of energy transition.

Speaking on the theme, “Just Energy Transition: An Enabler for Sustainable Development in Nigeria”, during the Association of Women Engineers of Nigeria, APWEN 2022 Annual National Conference which took place in Abuja hosted by the Gombe State Government, the minster applauded women engineers on their contribution to the energy sector in Nigeria, saying women have shattered the glass ceiling and they are charged to take control of the economy of the country.

“This conference will serve as a catalyst for a sustainable technology platform. We must look at the reality in our situation and chart a course that will not be detrimental to our collective efforts”, he said.

Mamora, who said that the ministry is ready to partner with APWEN, encouraged all stakeholders to take advantage of the government on energy transition for sustainability.

In his remarks, Executive Gombe State Governor, Alh Muhammadu Yahaya represented Amb. Edward Sarki Awak, the MD/CEO of Manifest Security Solutions Limited promised to support the course of women in engineering, saying APWEN has all the structural apparatus to contribute its quota to the development of the country.

In his speech, Guest Speaker, Engr Simbi Wabote, FNSE, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, NCDMB, represented by Manager NCDMB, Mr. Silas Ajimijaye, disclosed that, there are lots of opportunities in gas processes for women including, gas development, marketing project and infrastructural development project all over the country.

“For women in particular, we have line-ups of programmes. NCDMB has provided a $40million gas intervention fund for women, there is internship for females in STEM and women businesses in energy, oil and gas sector are in the value chain to ensure sufficiency.

“What you give to women will multiply. Aside, $500m already subscribed in oil and gas. We pulled out the $40m to encourage women in energy transition. We have identified solar energy as an integral part of the energy transition and we are supporting the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure energy transition to zero carbon emulsion by 2060. People need to know the opportunities in the energy transition and key into it.

“We are partnering with other government agencies to ensure the delivery of the decades-old gas programme. As a regulatory agency, it is pertinent to give perspective to the energy transition plan. We need to support energy sufficiency as a platform to energy transition and then provide support for the value chain through energy sufficiency programmes.

Also, Engr. Adokiye Tombomieye, FNSE, Group Executive Director Upstream NNPC, buttressed that women’s education is a catalyst for National Development. The education of the Girl Child through mentorship campaigns, organization of professional development programs like this conference, and motivation of female students to pursue Engineering and Sciences programs is also an enabler for Sustainable Development in Nigeria.

“Energy transition also comes with the opportunities of carbon credits and because Nigeria produces gas and oil, we can market our carbon which will also be an incentive for us to process funding from Financial Institutions.

“It is imperative to continue to develop our substantial gas resources while also advancing the adoption of renewable energy sources, to advance and succeed with its energy transition strategy.

“As a country, the declaration of the years 2021-2030 as the Decade of Gas is a clear indication of the country’s resolve to drive economic growth with natural gas exploitation while deepening Domestic gas utilization to monetize our proven gas reserves.

“Nigeria’s energy transition will create significant investment opportunities such as the establishment and expansion of industries related to solar energy, hydrogen, and electric vehicles. It is pertinent to acknowledge that Nigeria is well endowed with abundant Renewable Energy (RE) which includes Hydropower, Solar Photovoltaic Technology, Wind, Geothermal, and Biomass.

“These alternatives can be exploited to diversify the nation’s energy mix beyond the current fossil fuel sources and guarantee energy security for the nation. The Renewable Energy sector still has many unexplored potentials and securing the appropriate funds, partnerships, and technology will accelerate large investments in the nation and put it in line with the global decarbonization movement.

“The recently enacted Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and the anticipated deregulation of the Downstream petroleum sector will also provide an opportunity to incorporate a Renewable Energy funding framework that will transfer real economic benefits in terms of energy access.

“As more businesses enter the market and become more lucrative as a result of government initiatives and rising demand, they will grow and increase employment opportunities that will improve the living standards of the vast majority of the Nigerian population. The Nigerian electricity sector would see an increase in investments due to the sizable market and growing demand for Renewable Energy technologies.

“Energy transition is real, and Nigeria must prepare for it, while at the same time advocating for a gradual and flexible approach to this change for developing countries. But we must note that the related activities that will accompany this change are vital and have come to stay with us and so we must deal with it”, he said.

Also, Engr. Osayande Igiehon, MD/CEO of Oil & Gas Ltd, in his speech reiterated the conversation should be, having a fair, equitable energy transition. “We need to take control of the narrative and chart a way forward. Over 70 per cent of what has been provided is from the developed world. If we do not take a decisive perspective of how to take advantage as Africans, then it will be disastrous.

“The advantage of the energy transition is that more than a 100million will be taken out of poverty and more jobs will be created for productivity.

Meanwhile, President, Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria, APWEN, Engr. Elizabeth Eterigho said APWEN is primarily a professional association open to all female engineers in Nigeria and in the Diaspora and has been an advocate for inspiring young girls into science and engineering as well as advancing the professional development of practising female engineers, technologists and scientists.

“APWEN has evolved to an educational and service organization on a mission to increase the number of women that are practising engineering. This is the fulfilment of our vision being an advocate for the advancement of women in the engineering profession towards national and global technological development.

“Girls deserve to access an education that prepares them for the jobs of the future and to be ready and equipped to participate in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. To give all girls opportunities to learn, achieve and excel in science, technology and in engineering solutions, there is need therefore to incorporate a fun and excited practical gender-responsive STEM learning to raise the curiosity and interest of the student thereby, leading to taking up careers in STEM, specifically in engineering, particularly in public schools. The purpose is to raise the inquisitiveness of students and ability to comprehend the relevancy of STEM in infrastructure and economic development of the nation.

“Presently, APWEN is working on enhancing the production, management and marketing of Nsukka yellow pepper using artificial intelligence which has won the African Technology Policy Studies Network, ATPS, grant. APWEN chapters in different States of Nigeria are also reaching out to young girls through similar programmes, giving a wider coverage across the country”, she said.

Speaking on the engagement of young engineers and Collegates, Engr. Abosede Adewole, National Coordinator, APWEN Young Engineers, expressed optimism that the future is great if more opportunities are given to them to explore, they would contribute their quota to the development of the country through engineering.

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