The Senate on Wednesday during plenary rejected a bill proposing the complete phase out of petrol-powered cars in Nigeria and adopting the electric-powered automobiles.
The sponsor of the bill, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, had while presenting the draft legislation argued that it would be cheaper to use electric-powered cars than the current petrol-powered automobiles cars in the country.
The lawmaker pointed out that Nigeria had been spending over N1 trillion naira yearly to subsidize petrol usage, stressing that with electric cars, fuel subsidy would be over as most industrialized nations have begun phasing out petrol-powered cars.
He explained: “Combustion engine cars have continued to cause deaths through uncontrolled pollution. Secondly, we have been spending over N1 trillion annually subsidising fuel in this country. By introducing electric cars, fuel subsidy will automatically be gone and those funds will be used for infrastructure and education.”
“To charge your electric cars, all the filling stations will be replaced with solar charging stations. Thankfully, this country is blessed with sunlight 365 days in a year.
“Electric cars are outselling petrol cars as witnessed in Norway a few weeks ago. It makes more sense to build Nigeria’s biggest power plant than refineries”, the lawmaker added.
The Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, Sen Jibrin Barau (APC, Kano), and Senator Andrew Uchendu, while discussing the bill at plenary opposed the bill,saying that Nigerians should not be forced to use what may become above their means.
Specifically, while contributing to the debate on the proposed bill, Barau pointed out that that Nigeria needed not make any law compelling Nigerians to use electric cars in view of the socio-economic constraints many citizens are currently facing.
He quipped: “Making it mandatory that everyone should resort to using electric cars at a given day is not feasible.”
The Deputy Senate President maintained that it would be wrong for the legislators to sit without due consideration of the impact of any legislation to make laws “that will kill our own business as a nation.”
However, in what appeared a weak defence of his position, Senator Murray-Bruce said that he would want his co-lawmakers “to close their eyes and dream they are in the 21st century.
“In a few years time, combustion engine cars will no longer be manufactured. For the sake of my colleagues, I’ll withdraw the bill. You don’t belong to the 21st century and I understand”, he added.