ECOWAS Crisis Management: Nigeria's Power Cut to Niger Reveals Deep-rooted Issues in Energy Stability
Home Opinions ECOWAS Crisis Management: Nigeria’s Power Cut to Niger Reveals Deep-rooted Issues in Energy Stability
Opinions - August 3, 2023

ECOWAS Crisis Management: Nigeria’s Power Cut to Niger Reveals Deep-rooted Issues in Energy Stability

The recent power cut by Nigeria to Niger Republic brings about an exposure to the possible energy stability in Nigeria. As the region’s largest economy, Nigeria, which struggles with electricity shortages and an unreliable power grid, gives out electricity to other neighbouring countries like Togo, Benin Republic, Niger Republic, amongst others.

Following an extraordinary session presided over by Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu on Sunday, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) took decisive action in response to the military junta’s seizure of power, which led to the overthrow of Niger’s democratic government. As a result, ECOWAS collectively decided to enforce a series of sanctions against the military regime which include cutting off power supplies in major cities of the country.

This article would look at the probability of energy stability in Nigeria as a result of its ability to sell out power to some neighbouring countries.

Nigeria’s energy crisis

Nigeria’s energy crisis has been a long-standing and complex issue that has plagued the country for decades. The nation, despite being one of the largest oil-producing countries in the world, faces severe challenges in providing consistent and reliable electricity to its citizens. Nigeria, as Africa’s energy giant, possesses vast reserves of conventional energy resources, including oil, natural gas, coal, and lignite, making energy export a significant part of its economy. 

In rural areas, over 70% of Nigerians rely on fuel wood for their energy needs, causing deforestation and desertification. The absence of reliable energy supply in these areas has left the rural populace socially and economically backward, hindering development and poverty eradication efforts. 

Despite facing its own energy crisis, Nigeria continues to supply electricity to some neighbouring countries. This act has also raised concerns and criticisms from citizens who believe that if Nigeria does not have enough power, it would not give to other countries and that it should prioritise resolving its internal energy challenges before exporting power to others. 

Interconnection of Power Grids

The interconnection of power grids, exemplified by Nigeria’s power cut to Niger, is crucial in addressing energy stability issues in the region. Through initiatives like the West African Power Pool (WAPP), countries in the ECOWAS region integrate their power grids, enabling the exchange and sharing of electricity resources. The WAPP project has facilitated increased bilateral electricity trading among ECOWAS member states, fostering regional energy cooperation and economic benefits.

For Nigeria, the interconnection offers the opportunity to import electricity during power shortages, supporting domestic energy stability while assisting neighbouring countries. While at that, for a country with epileptic supply of power within the country, it’s surprising how they can help power other countries.

Investment in Energy Infrastructure

Nigeria’s energy infrastructure suffers from chronic underinvestment, severely impacting its ability to provide stable power supply to its citizens but still has enough for neighbouring countries. Inadequate investment in power generation capacity and ageing infrastructure result in frequent power outages and limited access to electricity for a significant portion of the population.

However as Nigeria supplies electricity to Niger Republic with these energy crises all over the country, there is a need to ask questions on the stability of energy in the country.

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