The governor of Nigeria’s Delta state is forming a committee to explore electric vehicles for mass transit after fuel subsidy removal led to tripled fuel costs, increasing transportation expenses for many. 

Governor Sheriff Oborevwori of Delta state, in south-south Nigeria, is forming a committee to explore the use of electric vehicles for mass transportation. This decision comes after the federal government removed fuel subsidies, causing the cost of fuel to almost triple. The subsidies were discontinued because they were becoming too expensive, costing the country about ₦4.3 trillion last year. As a result, transportation costs have risen, increasing commuting expenses, and forcing those who can’t afford it to walk to their destinations in various parts of the country.

Governor Oborevwori announced his intention to form the committee after test-driving two electric vehicles locally assembled by Nigerian mobility technology company, Jet Motors. He said, “The electric vehicles are cheaper; the only thing is that we are still studying this model and we are coming out with our own decision very shortly, to know whether to go in that direction, especially with the present hike in petrol price,” during the announcement.

In February, Jet Motors announced that Nigeria’s federal government, through the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), had acquired some of its electric vehicles along with their charging infrastructure. According to the Chairman of Jet Motors, Chidi Ajaere, electric vehicles are more affordable to manage. He stated, “The two biggest cost drivers for transportation are the cost of maintenance and cost of fueling but with electric vehicles you eliminate the cost of maintenance and the cost of petrol thereby reducing the cost of transportation by almost 80%.”

The day before Oborevwori’s announcement, Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun state, southwest Nigeria,  promised to provide electric-powered motorbikes for those who rely on them for transport. This will be “a way of easing the financial pressure orchestrated by the increase in fuel price,” he wrote in a tweet.

The country’s state governors and its federal government have also introduced palliative measures to lessen the burden of higher transportation costs. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos state reduced fares of BRT buses by 50% and fares of danfo buses by 25% on all routes. Additionally, President Bola Tinubu secured approval for a ₦500 billion palliative to cushion the brunt of his economic revival measures, including the removal of fuel subsidies. Ironically, this amount is nearly equivalent to the money spent on fuel subsidies in 2019 (₦578 billion).

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