Barely 72 hours to exit, Nigerian government began the distribution of clean cooking stoves to rural women across the country. The exercise is largely seen as political watchers as President Goodluck Jonathan’s parting gift to the rural folks.
It was launched by Vice President Namadi Sambo, in the Banquet Hall of the State House, Abuja, saying that the stoves are meant to reduce desertification in the country.
He said the stoves will also boost job creation and reduce smoke-related diseases among the rural women.
He said: “One of the global problems today is environmental problem. Desertification in Nigeria is one of our major environmental problems and the major cause is the cutting down of the trees and using the wood as a source of energy for cooking.
“Mr. President graciously approved for the initial take off under the Environment Ministry with the sum of N9 billion to procure these cooking utensils and distribute it all over the country to our women. And by so doing, contributes to stopping the usage of trees for firewood for cooking. In addition to that, it has added value of saving women from inhaling the smoke, which is responsible for the yearly death of about 90,000 women.
“We believe this is a very important contribution towards arresting desertification in Nigeria”, he said.
The Minister of Environment, Mrs. Laraba Malam in her remarks disclosed that only 15 percent of the N5 billion amounting to N1.3 billion has been paid to the contractor for all the supplies so far made.
She said: “We have only paid 15 percent to the contractor and he has supplied. There is no controversy about the cost of the contract. The truth is that Mr. President and the Federal Executive Council approved N9 billion for 750,000 pieces of the clean stove.
“Meanwhile N5 billion was released to the Ministry and the Ministry following due process gave him 15 percent, which is N1.3 billion and he has supplied”, he said.
According to her, the stoves will be distributed through the Ministry of Environment in every state of the Federation and the local governments.
On whether there will be continuity on the project under the incoming government, she said: “I don’t see any government terminating it. I want to believe that the incoming government will continue because government is all about continuity.”
The prices of the stoves locally assembled in Nigeria ranges between N3,000 and N36,000.