|Fig. 1: Koeberg nuclear power station. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)|
Nigeria is the most populated country in Africa. It also has the continent's largest oil and gas reserves and is the largest exporter of crude oil. However, due to many years of underinvestment in and neglect of the power sector, Nigeria is in an energy crisis. The current government is looking to reform the power sector and invest in nuclear technology for power generation.
Despite an abundance of energy resources, Nigeria faces energy crisis due to its inadequate energy supply that cannot meet the demands of its citizens. In 2012, the Nigerian Minister of Power commented that although Nigeria had an installed capacity of 8.42 Gigawatts (GW), operational capacity was only about 50 percent of installed capacity (4.12 GW) coming from its few nuclear plants like Koerberg Nuclear Power Station (Fig. 1). Contrasting this with an estimated demand of 22 GW to 25 MW, it is not surprising that Nigeria is in an energy crisis. 
Nigeria has been involved with the use and applications of nuclear science for decades. Nigeria's nuclear program emerged tentatively in the late 1970's primarily as a response to South Africa's acquisition of nuclear weaponry. The rational was that Nigeria could utilize nuclear technology to develop military grade weapons which would strategically position it as a nuclear power and enable it to be more effective in the pursuit of its foreign policy agenda. Nigeria believed it had a sacred responsibility to challenge the racial monopoly of nuclear weapons by producing the first black bomb.  However, with its inability to achieve its goals becoming increasingly apparent, Nigeria turned its sights to the use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
Recently, Russia and Nigeria signed contracts on construction and operation of a Nuclear Power Plant in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The parties also signed a roadmap for peaceful usage of nuclear technologies.
© Opemipo Akerele. The author warrants that the work is the author's own and that Stanford University provided no input other than typesetting and referencing guidelines. The author grants permission to copy, distribute and display this work in unaltered form, with attribution to the author, for non-commercial purposes only. All other rights, including commercial rights, are reserved to the author.
 U. Clement, "Paying More for Darkness: How the Hike in Electricity Tariff Affects You," The Vanguard, 10 Jun 12.
 F. O. Osayi, "African Nuclear Weapons Technology: A Search for Nigerian Perspective," Developing Country Studies 4, No. 25,1 (2014).