The Senate yesterday threw out a bill for an Act to phase out petrol vehicles in 2035.
The bill, sponsored by Senator Ben Murray-Bruce (Bayelsa East), proposed the introduction of electric cars to replace petrol vehicles in the country by 2035.
Contributors to the debate on the bill underscored the impossibility of mandating Nigerians to stop the use of petrol vehicles by 2035 without sufficient preparation.
Murray-Bruce was forced to withdraw the bill following the opposition by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu and Barau Jibrin.
Ekweremadu, who congratulated Murray-Bruce for introducing the bill, noted there was no need for a law to be passed for Nigerians to switch from use of petrol vehicles to electric vehicles.
The Enugu West senator recalled that people moved from the use of animals as a means of transportation to bicycles, motorcycles, cars and other advanced means of transportation.
He added that the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, which provide for freedom of movement, should suffice for the time being.
Ekweremadu said: “I congratulate Ben Murray-Bruce for his uncommon common sense and brilliant ideas in the lead debate. But what is not common is the need to introduce a law to mandate the use of electric cars.
“If we go into history, donkeys were used as means of transportation, and there is no law that caused people to begin to use cars.
“This is ancillary to Section 41 of the 1999 Constitution, which requires freedom of movement. So, he should consider taking back the bill.
“Besides, in economic sense, we are an oil producing country. So, we should do everything possible to frustrate the sale of electric cars in Nigeria to enable us sell our oil.”
Barau Jibrin (Kano North) noted that while electric vehicles would be friendly to the environment and health, making its use mandatory was not feasible.
“We have to look at individual’s net worth. Not all Nigerians can afford the vehicles at a given time.
“We all know the importance of vehicles in our daily activities. So, banning the use of fuel cars will cause hardship, particularly for those who may not be able to acquire electric cars,” he said.
Before he withdrew the bill, Murray-Bruce raised a Point of Order to insist that posterity would judge him right for the necessity to embrace electric vehicles in the country.
The senator said it was obvious that in no distant time, combustible vehicles would be phased out by their manufacturers.
He added: “The earlier Nigeria buys into the change, the better. I can never quarrel with my leaders and friends but I want them to close their eyes and know they are in the 21st century.
“I own an electric car that I have been using for the past five years. It is cheaper to maintain and durable. So, the fears put forward by my colleagues are highly debatable.
“I will withdraw the bill but I want my colleagues to know that they do not belong in the 21st century. They should close their eyes and assume that they are in the 21st century.”
Murray-Bruce noted that one of the major advantages of electric vehicles is that it solve the problem of ozone layer depletion.