With over 20 million residents, Lagos is the most populous city in Africa and among the fastest-growing megacities in the world. Over the last decade, the number of vehicles on Lagos roads has quadrupled. On average, most of these vehicles are over 15 years old, using old emission technologies and fuel with high sulfur levels.
The upward trajectory in vehicle numbers poses a significant challenge as transportation has been identified as a key contributing sector globally to annual CO2 emissions, accounting for close to a third of emissions. This figure is significantly higher in Nigeria where transportation contributes approximately 60% of carbon emissions. The World Bank estimates that at least 30,000 people die annually in Lagos due to pollution.
Oando recognizes that one of the fastest routes to net zero will be to take transportation and associated pollution out of the equation. Against this backdrop and in support of accelerating Nigeria’s race to achieve net zero by 2060 is the ‘cleaning up’ of the country’s transport system through the deployment of sustainable transport solutions. Oando Clean Energy’s (OCEL) agenda is to invest in climate-friendly and bankable energy solutions across the African continent, starting in its home country Nigeria.
Currently, Lagos State’s mass transit system has over 1,000 internal combustion engine buses releasing an estimated 44,000kg of CO2 daily. OCEL’s strategic approach is to stimulate Electric Vehicle (EV) adoption in Nigeria and build the next downstream sector for mobility; one that will dispense electricity instead of petrol or diesel via transitioning the country’s current combustion engine mass transport vehicles to EVs.
To this end OCEL signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), the Lagos State Government Agency tasked with planning, implementing, regulating, and franchising sustainable integrated public transport in Lagos. The MoU establishes a partnership between OCEL and Lagos State in her journey to becoming a sustainable city via the rollout of electric mass transit buses, supporting charging infrastructure and service centres (EV Infrastructure Ecosystem).
This landmark initiative and a first for Lagos State demonstrates Oando’s dedication to the Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact, which the company has participated in since 2009. It also reflects their commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy, SDG 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities, and Goal 13 – Climate Action.
President of OCEL, Dr. Ainojie ‘Alex’ Irune acknowledges that the initiative is in recognition of the urgent need for electric vehicles to address transportation’s circa 60% contribution to Nigeria’s GHG emissions. “This is an opportunity for us to revolutionize mobility in our country as well as build local capacity for the renewable and clean energy ecosystem. Whilst today these buses have come from across the world, in the very near future they will be produced here in Nigeria. In the very near future, we will have a multitude of locally trained engineers who are capable of operating, maintaining, and servicing these buses and other renewable energy assets. We see these buses as a first step.
This PoC facilitates the collection of the first sets of data points to support the development and deployment of EVs for municipal and public transport on the continent. Our ambition together with Lagos state, is to set our sights on the future and chart a path for others to follow” he noted.
The Sustainable Transport Initiative will see OCEL introducing electric buses to LAMATA’s current fleet of buses. The initiative aims to support the transformation of the State’s public transport system through the development and deployment of a pathway to a carbon-free mobility ecosystem within the State.
Speaking on the launch of the PoC phase the Honorable Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, noted; “Climate change refers to a long-term shift in temperature and weather patterns and it’s something we have been experiencing in Lagos and Nigeria recently. Such shifts can be due to natural causes such as changes in the activities of the sun or large volcanic eruptions, or they can be caused by human activities. Today, there is abundant evidence that shows that human activities have been the main drivers of climate change primarily due to the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas”.
“This situation has given rise to affirmative actions by world leaders and environmentalists to act fast to save our world. Lagos is the only state in Nigeria that has prepared and initiated the execution of a climate action plan. The plan outlines 26 efforts covering adaptation and mitigation actions to build a sustainable low carbon economy in the pursuit of achieving net zero emissions by 2050, 10 years ahead of the Federal Government’s target of 2060” he said.
“The UNGC has provided Oando with an amazing platform, supported by invaluable resources and a network of like-minded private sector companies and peers to which we can align and benchmark our sustainability vision and practices. We are particularly grateful for the opportunity to show sustainability leadership through our involvement in the UNGC local network and global action platforms and collective action initiatives,” noted Ayotola Jagun, Chief Compliance Officer and Company Secretary, Oando PLC.
The roll-out of the electric buses kicked off with a three-month Proof-Of-Concept (PoC) phase in May 2023 and is geared at assessing the viability of electric buses for mass transportation in Lagos State. This will be followed by a Pilot phase with an expanded fleet and bus routes, and the eventual countrywide deployment of 12,000 buses creating employment for over 30,000 Nigerians.
By day 50 of the PoC phase, the electric mass transit buses had transported 41,678 passengers, travelled a total of 22,129km, and mitigated over 29 tonnes (29,875kg) in CO2 emissions. Also, OCEL has trained 44 drivers and technicians (both male and female) during this phase.
The launch of electric mass transit buses in partnership with the Lagos State Government sets a precedent for other States and industry stakeholders and signifies a milestone in the pursuit of sustainable urban mobility. E-mobility has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality, and contribute to the mitigation of climate change.
The Honorable Commissioner for Energy & Mineral Resources, Engr. Olalere Odusote noted the positive impact the project will have on the health of the citizens and the productivity of the city.
“Lagos sits on less than 0.4% of Nigeria’s landmass but plays host to 12% of Nigerians; that should tell you that this is indeed a crowded city, it is also the smallest state in Nigeria, yet the most populous. Research shows that a large majority of the presentations to hospitals across the State are for respiratory illnesses, meaning they are breathing significant amounts of polluted air with direct and indirect losses to the State because of missed worked days, lost earnings, and hospital bills to name a few. This is yet another step we’re taking as a government to ensure we clean up the environment, in addition to the other positive steps being taken in the electricity sector,” he said.
The Managing Director LAMATA Engr. Abimbola Akinoja also noted “This initiative is a major aspect of our vision for transportation in Lagos State, we are desirous of having a clean and efficient transportation system. I am elated that in just over a year since Oando Clean Energy came to us to discuss the possibility of working with us in the deployment of electric buses, we have signed an MoU with a key deliverable being the implementation of a PoC that would allow us finally include electric buses in our ecosystem”.
Oando’s Sustainable Transport Initiative, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enhance energy efficiency, and promote cleaner and more sustainable transportation, will contribute to global climate goals and Nigeria’s sustainable development. It is anticipated that the success of the initiative in Lagos State will lead to its replication in other States across the country and serve as a blueprint for sustainable urban mobility across Africa.
“We are delighted to recognize Oando PLC for their efforts and exemplary leadership in driving clean and efficient transportation solutions” says Executive Director of the UN Global Compact Network Nigeria, Naomi Nwokolo.
“This initiative aligns with the UN Global Compact’s mandate to promote sustainable development, social progress, and environmental stewardship, especially Principle 8 of the UN Global Compact: “Businesses should undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility’.
We encourage all businesses, including Oando PLC, to continue exploring innovative and sustainable solutions that create shared value for society, the environment, and the economy. Collaboration between the private sector, governments, and civil society is crucial for achieving the SDGs and creating a more sustainable future for all. We remain committed to supporting businesses in their journey towards responsible and sustainable operations, and we look forward to witnessing further progress and innovation from our participating organizations in the pursuit of a more sustainable future” she noted.