A member of the National Assembly, Sen. Ibrahim Gobir (APC Sokoto East) [image above] on Sunday in Abuja, said the nation could generate 45,000 mega watts of electricity if it utilized its coal reserves.
He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that if the coal resource in Enugu, Benue and Kogi were harnessed, power problems in the country would be a thing of the past.
The senator, who was speaking on the challenges of Nigeria at 55, said that challenges in the country could be surmounted if there was a political will to do so.
“During those days, we were using coal to generate electricity in Enugu and other places; today, if we want to generate 45,000 mega watts, we can generate that using coal.
“In Enugu axis alone you can generate 30,000 megawatts; in Kogi and Benue, you can produce about 15,000 mega watts; so, we are talking about 45,000 megawatts from coal alone.
“All that we have been talking about over the years is to generate 40,000 megawatts but today, we are just dangling with only 4,000 megawatts; so I think we have to look at some of our planning,” he said.
Gobir, an engineer, added that like the power sector, agriculture had suffered setback, declining from exports that it was used to.
He recalled the period of groundnut pyramids, booming rubber export as well as cocoa export, adding that agriculture did not contribute up to 30 per cent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“If you look at defence, we have also recorded setbacks because the Nigerian defence industry was established the same time with that of Brazil, India and South Korea.
“Today we are importing armouries from Brazil; we are importing ammunitions from India and so many other places
“Our defence industry has been converted to nylon bag making industry; so I think we have recorded some very terrible setbacks.
“When you come to the issue of education, I can say that there has been tremendous growth but it is growth without development because we don’t have functional education.
“We have so many tertiary institutions with no direction; until we face functional education in this country, we will still be dangling with the same problem,” he said.
The senator prayed that the present administration would have the political will to address all the challenges and harness available opportunities.
He called for increase in the budget to science and technology sector, stressing that the sector should get over N100 billion rather that the ‘’meagre N5 billion it received in 2015’’.