PHOTO CREDIT: National Geographic

 

The Federal Government of Nigeria is set to develop a clean cooking policy.

This emerged at the just concluded Nigerian Clean Cooking Forum organised by the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cooking in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Environment and other partners in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

At the event, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, disclosed that an inter-ministerial committee has been mandated to develop the policy, adding that “a sub-committee of the Inter-ministerial Committee on Climate Change has also been created to coordinate national efforts to address the challenges posed by the lack of access to clean cooking.”

Studies have found that smoke from the kitchens in Nigeria is responsible for 78,000 premature deaths and about 55 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents are emitted from the same source.

The minister stated that it is unacceptable for Nigeria to have the greatest number of people dying in Africa from lack of access to clean cooking.  This is as cooking with firewood and charcoal have been linked to serious health problems like acute lower respiratory infection in children, as it has also been found to cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease and lung cancer

The two-day event supported by Heinrich Boell Stiftung (HBS) and Nigeria Energy Support Programme (NESP) held on 5th and 6th October 2021 brought together key policymakers, private sector actors, research institutions, women groups, academia, civil society stakeholders as well as international development partners to discuss the implementation plans towards achieving the clean cooking targets of the Paris Agreement.

While addressing the forum, Deputy Senate President of Nigeria, Ovie Omo-Agege, said, “the clean cooking initiative offers some new details regarding the hazards associated with our rather rusty traditional firewood system of cooking.”

He therefore urged the stakeholders to articulate ways to address grey areas in existing laws and if there is need for a new law, such should be forwarded to the National Assembly for further actions. He also urged stakeholders to articulate ways of ensuring that this vision is achieved and stated that the Senate is always available to support the initiatives where required.

The Chairman Senate Committee on Environment, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, represented by Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, in his goodwill message pointed out that the newly enacted Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) has critical elements that seek to promote access to LPG for cooking and said should the need arise, the National Assembly is willing to amend the PIA to ensure enhanced private sector-driven LPG expansion in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, The Statistician General of the Federation, Dr. Simon Harry, has said “the National Bureau of Statistics remains committed to providing the much needed information that will enable government and the private sector plan for clean cooking programming.”

He mentioned that the Bureau is always ready to work with stakeholders to enhance data collection where required.

Chairman Board of Trustees of the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves and Executive Director, International Centre for Energy, Environment and Development (ICEED), Ewah Otu Eleri, said the inadequate access to clean cooking solutions in Nigeria has negative health, economic and environmental consequences on the country and its residents.

According to him “Nigeria needs a policy, financing framework and to build partnerships with the international community for clean cooking”. He also mentioned that government needs to step in to ensure the use of locally sourced cooking gas and ensure removal of VAT on imported LPG to reduce the present hike in the price of LPG.

Similarly, Country Director of Heinrich Boell Stiftung (HBS), Jochen Luckscheiter, said “clean cooking is a proverbial low hanging fruit that can save lives, the forests and climate all at the same time as well as enable Nigeria achieve its NDCs”.

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