The Federal Government of Nigeria is set to develop a clean cooking policy. This was the key message in the just concluded Nigerian Clean Cooking Forum organized by the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cooking in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Environment and other partners, and with support from Heinrich Boell Stiftung (HBS) and the Nigeria Energy Support Programme (NESP). The two-day event, held on 5th and 6th October 2021, at the Sheraton Hotel, Abuja and 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.
Speaking at the event, the Honourable Minister of State for Environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor, stated that it is unacceptable that Nigeria should have the greatest number of people dying in Africa as a result of the lack of access to clean cooking. She pledged the Federal Government’s determination to develop a policy framework for clean cooking in the country. According to the minister, “there is already an inter-ministerial committee saddled with the responsibility of developing this policy. Furthermore, a sub-committee of the Inter-ministerial Committee on Climate Change will coordinate national efforts to address the challenges posed by the lack of access to clean cooking”. She declared that the Ministry is committed to integrating the outcomes of the forum in its NDCs implementation efforts and plans.
In her goodwill message, the Honourable Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen OFR, KSG, represented by Mrs. Funke Oladipo, thanked the Federal Ministry of Environment and the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves for their foresight in promoting clean cooking aimed at improving the lives of women and children in Nigeria. She aligned the Ministry to the objective of achieving clean cooking in Nigeria and outlined the Ministry’s effort in promoting clean cooking through distribution of one thousand (1,000) cooking gas equipments in each of the 774 LGAs across Nigeria and public awareness campaigns.
In his Keynote Address, the Deputy Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, H.E. Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, the Obarisi of Urhobo Land, commended the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves and expressed the unalloyed commitment of the Legislature in ensuring clean cooking for all Nigerian. According to him, “there is no doubt that the clean cooking initiative is about some new details regarding the hazards associated with our rather rusty traditional firewood system of cooking”. He 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. 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 said the 9th Senate is favourably disposed to support policies and programmes being championed through the forum. He 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.
The Representative of the Chairman House Committee on Environment, Honourable Bello Shamsudeen, in his goodwill message said outcomes of the Forum will help the National Assembly establish a legislative framework for clean cooking in Nigeria and urged the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves to work with the legislature to ensure a clean cooking framework is established.
The Statistician General of the Federation, Dr. Simon Harry, in his goodwill message 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.
In his welcome address, the 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, detailed the negative health, economic and environmental impacts of inadequate access to clean cooking solutions in Nigeria. 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.
In his goodwill message the Country Director of Heinrich Boell Stiftung (HBS), Jochen Luckscheiter, said “clean cooking does not create the necessary headlines but it 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”.
In his goodwill message, the Head of Nigeria Energy Support Programme (NESP), Mr. Duke Benjamin said the Programme is committed to expanding access to clean cooking in Nigeria as witnessed in its NESP 1. He said the second phase of the NESP is focused on expanding access to LPG for institutional cooking and these are all part of its Nigeria Institutional Clean Cookstoves Acceleration Scheme. He acknowledged the gap in policy and pledged the commitment of NESP to support the Nigerian Government to develop enabling policy for clean cooking.
The Senior Director, Market Strengthening, Clean Cooking Alliance (CCA), Colm Fay, in his goodwill message, mentioned that Nigeria is a very important market for clean cooking and expressed delight that Nigeria has prioritised clean cooking in its NDCs. According to him, “CCA will over the coming months explore ways to increase its engagement and activities in Nigeria by consulting closely with public and private sector partners on how best to strengthen the cooking industry and accelerate progress towards the goals set by Nigeria”.
Cooking with firewood or charcoal leads to serious health problems like acute lower respiratory infection in children. It causes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease and lung cancer. Smoke from the kitchen in Nigeria leads to 78,000 premature deaths and about 55 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents are emitted from the same source.
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