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Tony Iredia Kicks Against Media Industry Regulation Bill

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Tony Iredia

By Adedapo Adesanya

The former Director-General of Voice of Nigeria (VOA), Professor Tony Iredia, has warned the federal government against the imposition of regulations on the media industry.

He gave the warning at a meeting with the House of Representatives in Abuja on Thursday for the public hearing on the bill which seeks to provide regulation and conduct of the practice of the broadcasting profession in Nigeria and other related matters.

While declaring the hearing open, the Speaker of the lower chamber, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, maintained that the bill was expected to change the broadcast and information landscape in the country.

However, the media titan frowned at the overbearing powers conferred on the Minister of Information in the proposed legislation, calling for the removal of the toxic provisions in the proposed legislation and the government’s attempt to stifle the media.

Professor Iredia, who once served as Director-General of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), maintained that the media should be allowed to regulate itself in line with corporate social responsibility.

He said, “We need to be careful. This bill is talking about empowering broadcasters professionally unlike other committees that have been very eager to promulgate social media, to promulgate this and that without reference to the fact that the media is constitutionally mandated to hold the government accountable to the people.

“If the people are to be held accountable are controlling those who hold them accountable, who will now hold people and create accountability in our system? So, lawmaking in the modern era must completely discountenance the old system of obsolete laws. Many of the laws we inherited are obsolete and those who gave us have changed them in different jurisdictions. What we need to do is to look, beyond here, and we see a lot of these issues that are being raised.”

Speaking about the bill, he proposed that the idea of regulation by the international standard is self-regulation.

“We need to look at a bill that is talking about how broadcasters can regulate themselves not how public bodies can regulate themselves. And those public bodies should know too that the media is no longer owned by the government alone. When in those days the government has a monopoly, anything could be done.

“For me, all that NBC has said this morning is quite good. The only difference is that they are probably not aware that when events overtake the past, you look at ways of updating the system,” Professor Iredia said.

While frowning at the undue interference with the media operations in the country in the NBC (Establishment) Act, he underscored the need for the amendment of the NBC Act, with a view to reflect the current realities.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Lagos Moves to Regulate Electricity Market

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electricity market

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Lagos State government is in the process of enacting a law to regulate the electricity market in the state, Business Post has learnt.

This call was made by the Lagos State Commissioner for Energy, Mr Olalere Odusote, while delivering a keynote address at the closing of the 3rd Lagos Real Estate Market Place Conference And Exhibition in Lagos.

Speaking at the event themed A Town Hall Meeting On The Lagos Real Estate Emerging Markets – Mitigating The Potential Risks, the Commissioner explained that this became necessary as most private individuals and businesses in Lagos utilised diesel-powered generators rather than electricity from the national grid.

According to him, the two distribution companies in Lagos State, the Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) and Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC) – established nine years ago, sell about 800 to 900 megawatts initially and have only improved to 1,000 megawatts nine years after.

“Nothing has changed in the national grid sector nine years after.

“However, Lagos State, within a spate of nine years, had grown from having about 8,000 megawatts of installed diesel capacity to about 23,000 megawatts.

“The diesel market of the off-grid market has grown by about 300 per cent, but the grid market has not grown at all or just about one to two per cent,” he said.

He added that the state injected almost 1,000 transformers into the grid to improve electricity supply to its residents, but without the desired result.

Mr Odusote said a lot of the energy utilised in Lagos comes from diesel generators and that because of the high population of the city, the emission from that energy source had become unsustainable.

The Commissioner explained that Lagos had been projected to be the city with the largest population in the world in 50 years; therefore, energy for the housing infrastructure needed for the population must be put into consideration.

Mr Odusote said that was why the state government came up with the Lagos Electricity sector policy, with the aim of providing universal access to electricity for all residents of the state.

He stated that the draft of the Lagos electricity law had been completed and was before the state’s House of Assembly for consideration.

Mr Odusote explained that the bill, when implemented, would take regulation of electricity from the centre and domicile it with the Lagos regulatory agency.

“The Nigerian constitution domiciles the responsibility of regulation and distribution of electricity with the state government, but when the law was passed in 2002, many states were not ready for the responsibility.

“Many housing estates in the state run on diesel generators because they are unable to benefit from the grid, yet they cannot share from the excess capacity they currently have because the Federal Government does not permit it.

“Lagos is now ready, willing and in the process of passing the law. It means we will be able to locally determine our faith when it comes to electricity,” he said.

According to him, the Lagos Regulatory Agency will work with the residents and the state government to determine the need of the electricity market and make laws that will enable investors to invest in identified gaps.

The Commissioner said the state was working with the Federal Government to ensure its laws were reviewed and the new law passed at the National Assembly aligned with the state’s law and in line with the development of the sector.

Mr Odusote explained that the state was working with the stakeholders and other private sector operators to create a framework that would ensure that by 2036, there is the availability of electricity in the state.

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GE Reduces Emissions With Mobile Gas Turbines

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mobile gas turbines

By Adedapo Adesanya

General Electric (GE) has announced that its mobile gas turbines, typically used for emergency use, cannot only meet the emissions requirements in line with World Bank Standards but even surpass them and meet the most stringent emissions standard requirements.

In the State of California, GE developed an innovative technical solution on four TM2500 aero-derivative gas turbines deployed at the Department of Water Resources (DWR) sites in Yuba City and Roseville. The solution reduced nitrogen oxide (NOx) and carbon monoxide (CO) emissions by over 90 per cent, surpassing World Bank Emissions Standards. It marked the world’s first-of-a-kind solution on a GE mobile TM2500.  The technology helped lower emissions while supporting the statewide energy grid during extreme climate-driven events, including drought or wildfires.

Speaking on the advancement, Mr Clive Nickolay, CEO of GE Gas Power’s Aeroderivative business line, said, “GE’s aero-derivative mobile technology, typically used for emergency power, represents a perfect complement to renewable energy and peaking power use cases worldwide.

“We’re excited about GE’s efforts to provide power plant operators with a technical solution that will allow them to quickly install peak power when needed while drastically reducing NOx and CO emissions levels to low single digits.”

The technical solution includes engineering studies for the integration and installation of a Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology system—a proven and effective solution to limit post-combustion emissions.

The technology works by removing common emissions through a catalytic converter transforming the nitrogen oxides contained in the exhaust gas into water vapour and nitrogen.  The new solution unlocks dramatic enhancements to emissions performance while ensuring the TM2500 can provide reliable, affordable, and lower-carbon electricity to the grid.

At Yuba and Roseville, GE worked with the engineering, procurement, and construction company Kiewit Power Constructors Co. to install the world’s first-of-this-kind solution on a GE mobile gas power turbine to solve DWR’s emissions challenge. The emissions control solution includes 11-meter-high modules and a 22-meter-high stack.  Each of the four TM2500 can produce up to 34 megawatts (MW) of electricity for a total of 136 MW and is now equipped with a system to reduce pollutants to 2.5 parts per million, the legal limit set by the state of California.

Adding his input, Mr Nosizwe Dlengezele, Regional Sales Executive for GE Gas Power business in Sub-Saharan Africa, said, “Sub-Saharan Africa has one of the world’s fastest-growing populations, and natural gas offers a solution that’s more efficient and flexible to enable the integration of more renewables to the grid and ultimately reduce emissions.

“Our TM2500 aero-derivative gas turbines are installed in countries such as Nigeria, Angola, and Ghana, to provide much-needed power because of its enhanced mobility, easy installation and critical grid backup. It also has lower emissions than diesel generators when operating on gas, and the availability of an SCR solution will now enable our customers to further reduce NOx and CO emissions by 90 per cent.”

A key feature of the TM2500 units is its fast start ability providing full power in five minutes. This provides utilities and grid operators like   California Independent System Operator (CAISO) or the Western Area Power Authority (WAPA) the ability to quickly support the grid in case of emergencies or loss of intermittent power.

The quick start capability was successfully put to use when the units were brought online to support a strained statewide energy grid during California’s extreme heat wave on Sept 6, 2022.

GE’s trailer-mounted TM2500 is derived from jet-engine technology powering the world’s airlines and is mounted on a wheeled trailer for ultimate mobility. With more than 20 years of experience and over 300 units installed around the world, GE’s TM2500 is a proven solution for providing a baseload bridge to permanent power installations or for generating backup/peak power in the wake of natural disasters, plant shutdowns, grid instability or in isolated locations.

GE powers plants that deliver flexible, efficient, and reliable power to millions of people around the world. With almost 70 years of presence in Sub-Saharan Africa, GE has been collaborating with energy stakeholders to deploy innovative technologies tailored to respond to the needs of the Sub-Saharan Africa region with reliable baseload and flexible power. GE delivers across the entire energy ecosystem from generation to transmission and distribution, and throughout the region, GE-built technologies are supported by GE local service and maintenance teams working together to help ensure access to reliable and sustainable energy.

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Senate Threatens to Withhold 2023 Capital Budget of State House, Others

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State House 2023 capital budget

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Senate has threatened to withhold the 2023 capital budget of 100 federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) until they answer the queries raised against them by the Auditor General for the Federation.

Senate President, Mr Ahmad Lawan, issued this threat on the floor of the upper chamber of the National Assembly on Wednesday while ruling on a point of order.

The threat followed a point of order raised by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Mr Matthew Urhoghide, who informed his colleagues that some agencies refused to appear before the team despite invitations sent to them.

Some of the MDAs include the State House, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Ministries of Interior, Transportation, Mines and Solid Mineral Development, Information, Communication, Petroleum, Defence, Police Affairs, and Sports.

Others are Works and Housing, Women Affairs, the State House, Presidential Fleet, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Independent National Electoral Commission, North East Development Commission, Nigerian Intelligence Agency, and the Nigerian Air Force, among others.

The queries covered in the auditor general’s report are from 2015-2018.

Speaking, Mr Lawan upheld Mr Urhoghide’s point of order and insisted that the public officers who utilised funds appropriated to their MDAs must give account.

He said, “Your point of order is sustained fully and completely, totally sustained; you are right on the dot to bring to the plenary your grievances.

“Secondly, I once served as Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee for eight years. My only problem is when you write agencies, and they refuse to honour the invite, you’d many times be forced to bring them through a warrant of arrest.

“Reading this list at plenary gives the agencies the opportunity to know now if they were not aware before for those that may claim ignorance.”

The Senate then gave the agencies a one-week deadline to communicate with the committee and set a date to appear before them or have their capital budgets withheld.

“I am taking the opportunity here to advise that in the next one week, if the name of any agency is here, that agency should reach the Committee on Public Accounts of the Senate to sort out when the agency would appear before the committee.

“If there is no communication whatsoever and no cogent and verifiable reason are given, we will slash the agencies’ budget.”

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