In pursuance of the waste to energy policy of the Governor Ben Ayade-led administration, the Cross State Government has struck a partnership with the French government to convert its wastes to electricity.
Disclosing the collaboration during a presentation to Governor Ayade in his conference room, leader of the team, Mr. Ayodeji Okele, who is also the Managing Director, Asaju Energy, in company of a consortium of French companies comprising Gilles Bacquet, GB Consult and Services; Laurent Lambs, Project Manager Serge Experts, said they were in Calabar to conduct a feasibility studies on the waste management situation in the state.
The feasibility studies is coming on the heels of a recent visit by the French Ambassador to Nigeria, Jerome Pasquier to the state, where he discussed areas of economic cooperation, including waste management with Governor Ayade.
Okele told the governor that “We have been having a discussion about this project over a year ago with regard to the waste management situation in Cross River State.
“And we arrived at the idea that we will need to do proper feasibility studies to find out what solution would be best suited and also what solution will be economically viable.”
According to the project guideline, the team is expected to develop a sustainable solution for disposal of municipal waste, both liquid and solid as well as proffer solutions for the generation of electricity from the end products at the end of the day.
Okele and his team had earlier undertaken an inspection tour of the major dump sites at Lemna.
The purpose of the feasibility studies, according to the team, “is to have an idea of the technical and financial basis for the project,” stressing that “our feasibility studies will take about six months.”
In his remarks, Governor Ayade, while expressing appreciation to the French government for the partnership, charged the consortium to see the project as purely a live saving intervention, and “not something you can periodize as a research. This is not a research, it is a life saving intervention mission and that is why you are here. So, if you approach it from that perspective, your concept of time will become more delicate and sensitive.
“I do not believe that you need six months to do this feasibility study, you just need to put more effort and more time. And why am I saying this? This is because when you finish your feasibility study, you will end up with a position statement which states that it is a feasible project. Then you go back to the French Government to process the actual final milestone which is the actual implementation. So if it takes you six months for feasibility study, by the time you get the final approval it will be towards the end of next year and that is not the level of pulse we need.”
Ayade who appealed to the team to see the project as both an existential and humanitarian effort noted: “As you are well aware, with what you saw when you went to Lemna, the city has grown to join the refuse, so people are basically living in a refuse dump. So for us, this project is an existential, fundamental and humanitarian effort by the French government because with the dumping of all of the unsegregated refuse, with fire and smoke billowing from there, that triggers a generation of different types of gases because of insufficient air at the top surface.
“So what you have is the production of methanogenesis producing methane and other associated gases. These are compounds that interfere with the learning capacity of a child. When a child lives in an environment that he or she percieves ordour consistently, retention of knowledge becomes a problem.
“And so for us three months or at the most four, will be reasonable for a feasibility study that gives us opportunity to go back to the French Government with our proposal in hand that yes, we can do it. So by first quarter of next year we can move into the implementation proper.”