Chris Steven, Abuja
Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki has called for an increased usage of clean cooking energy by Nigerians as a veritable way to save the environment.
The Senate President who spoke Wednesday when Executive Director, International Centre For Energy, Environment and Development (ICEED), Eawh Otu Eleri and members of the Alliance for Clean Cookstoves in Nigeria visited him, said Nigerians need to improve and increase her patronage of clean cooking stoves.
According to the Senate President, “As an organization, we need to step up our activities and actions aimed at ensuring increased usage of clean energy by households in the country. It is a fact that apart from saving lives, the use of clean cook-stoves would also help create jobs for our people.”
“We still have a long way to go in the use of clean energy for cooking in this country. It is clear that many of our people are dying from smoke as a result of cooking with firewood. Apart from that, our environment is being degraded through tree felling,” he said.
He listed three things that are needed towards improving the use of clean energy in the country to include “working out ways in which efforts being made to ensure the adoption of clean energy is supported by relevant legislation, avoiding past mistakes where the people are ripped-off and to leverage on the new international support for advocacy especially with the appointment of the new Secretary General of the United Nations (UN) who was a member of the Board of the Clean Cookstoves Alliance at the international level.”
Saraki urged the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment, Senator Oluremi Tinubu to sit with the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves so as to determine the kind of legislation necessary to support the work and to bring it to the attention of the Senate.
He said it was also necessary to get the support of the Bank of Industry (BOI) in the area of credit towards attaining the level where 10 million Nigerians use clean cook stoves by year 2020.
Earlier, the leader of the delegation who is also the Executive Director, International Centre For Energy, Environment and Development (ICEED), Eawh Otu Eleri, told the Senate President that apart from HIV/AIDs and Malaria, the next most dangerous killer disease is from the inhalation of smoke from wood operated cooking stoves.
According to him, over 93,000 Nigerians die annually from smoke inhalation when cooking with firewood. “Cooking should not kill. Cooking is meant to uphold life and improve health”, he said, adding that Nigeria produces over 400 million metric tonnes of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) but does not consume more than five per cent of it.
Whereas, he said, Ghana that imports her LPG from Nigeria consumes more than 25 per cent, explaining that seven out of every 10 families in Nigeria use firewood for cooking.
The Executive Director of ICEED said that it is the target of the group to ensure that 10 million Nigerian homes use clean cookstoves by year 2020, and urged the Senate President to ensure that the National Assembly enacts a legislation to enhance a national behavioural pattern that would improve the use of clean cookstove policy.
He further said that such a policy would encourage the campaign for the consumption of Made in Nigeria Goods as well as create more jobs.