The Nigerian Senate, during plenary on Wednesday, rejected a bill seeking to phase out the use of petrol-powered cars in Nigeria and adopt those powered by electricity. Sponsor of the bill, Senator representing Bayelsa East, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce had argued that it would be cheaper to use electric-powered cars than the current petrol cars being used in Nigeria.
He said industrialised nations have already begun phasing out petrol cars. According to him, “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.”
He also said that maintaining electric cars is cheaper than maintaining petrol-powered cars. “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.”
However, opposing the bill, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, Sen Jibrin Barau (APC, Kano), and Senator Andrew Uchendu spoke against the bill, noting that Nigerians should not be forced to use what may become above their means. Senator Jibrin Barau noted that Nigeria need not make any law compelling Nigerians to use electric cars following the economic challenges many Nigerians are facing.
According to him, “Making it mandatory that everyone should resort to using electric cars at a given day is not feasible.” For Ekweremadu, “We cannot sit here as a parliament and do a legislation to encourage something that will kill our own business as a nation.” Miffed by the rejection, Senator Murray-Bruce said his colleagues have still not migrated into the 21st century but are still living in the past and have been left behind by trends in the automobile and technological world.
“I want my colleagues 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.”