President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the provision of 1000 cooking gas cylinders to each of the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the country, saying that Nigeria would not be left behind in the efforts to adopt the use of renewable energy source, considering the adverse effect of the use of firewood to humans.
This came even as President Buhari pledged to plant 25 million trees across the country within one year to tackle environmental problems in the country.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen disclosed this during the flag-off of the first phase of Cooking Gas Project and Tree Planting Exercise organized by her ministry in collaboration with the Nasarawa State Government in Lafia.
According to the minister, the President was concerned that the effects of smoke occasioned by the use of firewood need to be phase out, hence the need to introduce women to the alternate source of renewable energy source to meet up with the 21st Century reality.
She said, the project could have come at a more appropriate time that the world is getting towards reducing the Green House emission effect in the society.
Dame Pauline Tallen said, “according to the world health organization (WHO), emission from cooking stove affects about 4.3 million people annually through air pollution and indoor smoke inhalation, causing respiratory diseases and death”.
According to her “the event was to create awareness and to sensitize the public, especially women and other stakeholders on the effect of using firewood for cooking and the health environmental problem associated with it.
“And to also introduce our teeming women to the use of alternate cooking stove, even as the world is transcending to the 21st century energy sources and Nigeria must not be left behind.
“In line with this, the President has directed that each Local Government Area of Nigeria, the 774 local governments would be supplied with 1000 cooking gas cylinder each.
“And so, here in Nasarawa State, the federal government would be providing 13,000 cooking stove for the 13 Local Government Areas in the state.
Tallen said, the event which was significant to the government of President Buhari was to demonstrate the delivery of the dividends of democracy of the next level agenda to the people at the grassroots.
She said, the initiative was a milestone in the effort to enhance quality of life of rural women in the country.
Tallen appealed to the state government to ensure that the gestures get to the right people from state down to the ward level so as to enable them feel the impact of the government of President Buhari.
On the tree planting, she said the state was only lucky to flag-off economic trees to stem the effect of deforestation in our communities as well as to address the issue of climate change.
She called on states and local governments to replicate the exercise in their domain with the view to ensure it becomes part of the country’s national life.
Governor Abduallahi Sule said, the choice of Nasarawa to serve as a pilot state for the flag off is not only timely, but “community driven to reduce the emission of poisonous gas that actually has attendant effect on the environment”.
The Governor noted, “it is important to note that, the use of cooking gas is currently the most dependable preventable measure which is effectively utilize to reduce the hazard of pollution in our communities’.
He said, the tree planting was “aimed at replenishing the rapidly depleting the vegetation and the need to protect our environment.
“This is in furtherance of our individual and collective efforts geared towards supporting life by planting and nurturing trees.
“It is pertinent to observe that, in the recent past our environment has been subjected to continuous abuse through deforestation, bush burning, pollution, mining and other human activities that are detrimental to ecosystem”, he said.
He further stated that, “our environment has continued to be further threatened by the adverse effect of climate change which is characterized by global warming.
“Also the irregular rainfall pattern, flood, erosion, desertification, a lot of fallen trees and the consequent endangered wild life spices”.
Governor Sule said, the event was a wake-up call to prevent and preserve life in all ramifications, saying that tree planting is more beneficial to the cozy shade
He urged the people of the state to adopt the use of cooking gas in order to avoid deforestation in the state and to develop the passion of planting of trees in the state, as “doing so that our environment will continue to remain beautiful and beneficial to everyone in the state.
In a message, the state commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources said the federal government intervention projects was a blessing to the state and was hopeful that the flag off would combat the impact of climate change, which the stat stand to benefits immensely in it renewable energy program.
The choice of the state was not in error, stressing that the state is bedeviled with the problem of deforestation and energy access challenges.
He expressed worries on how the trees are cut down indiscriminately for firewood and charcoal production, adding that the effect of these to human health are enormous.
He said, the campaign to rural communities on the use of clean cook stove and tree planting exercise in the state.
“The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources is ever ready to partner with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs to take the awareness on the use of renewable energy tools and tree planting exercise to the grassroots
He appealed to members of the public that, “when you cut one tree, plant three and we should use the clean cook stove for cooking with caution”.
He also expressed hope that this would improve the well being of the women and the economic growth of the state.