Minister: 90,000 Nigerians killed from firewood smoke annually

firewood cooking

FILE PHOTO: Firewood cooking

The Nigerian government has revealed that more than 90,000 people, mainly women and children, die annually from smoke and other complications from firewood.

The Federal Government on Tuesday, October 5, 2021, collaborated with relevant stakeholders for the effective implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to promote clean and efficient cooking technologies in the country.

Mrs Sharon Ikeazor, Minister of State for Environment, said this at the 2021 Nigeria Clean Cooking Forum, organised by the ministry, in Abuja.

Ikeazor speaking at the forum themed “Clean Cooking Energy for All in Nigeria, Achieving the Nationally Determined Contributions” said that the aim of the forum was to discuss the implementation plans towards achieving the clean cooking targets in the NDCs, as well as, taking stock of the current status of clean cooking activities in the country.

She said the forum was also to review existing policies and practices that relate to clean cooking for the country.

The minister stressed that if current policies are allowed to continue; by 2030, 60 per cent or more of all households in Nigeria will still be cooking with traditional biomass.

In her words, “Over 70 per cent of Nigeria’s population relies solely on fuel wood in meeting their energy needs for cooking and heating.

“Dependency on biomass for cooking or heating purposes increases pressure on local natural resources.

“It poses threat to the health and safety of end-users, mainly women often accompanied by their children. More than 90,000 Nigerian women and children die annually from firewood smoke.

“Deforestation equivalent of 5.4Mt of CO2 (GFW) resulting from unsustainable wood harvesting, thereby reducing carbon uptake by forest.

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“Nigeria’s residential sector contributes over 50 per cent of national total emissions of Green House Gases, (GHG).

“The use of cleaner, more modern cookstoves and fuels can dramatically reduce exposure to harmful smoke, thereby improving the health of rural women, creating wealth, provide myriad economic opportunities for Nigerians and has important environmental and climate benefits.”

Ikeazor said that the ministry had supported the implementation of various programmes on clean cooking to help the nation reduce its GHG emissions as well as boosting green growth.

She added that the Federal Government was striving to meet its NDCs obligations by ensuring that Nigerian households convert from the use of inefficient cooking fuels to other efficient cooking fuels such as fuel wood, charcoal and kerosene to LPG and other efficient cooking fuels.

“That is why we have put together this forum, bringing together policymakers, civil society organisations, NGOs, academia, women groups, and international partners for all to be well equipped with the right knowledge and tools.

“The effort is to be able to develop strategies and plans that squarely address the issues of clean cooking,” she said.

The minister appreciated the support and contribution of the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves and the International Centre for Energy, Environment and Development (ICEED) in promoting clean and more efficient cooking technologies.

She said that the challenges of inefficient cooking fuels were massive, adding that cooperative efforts to tackle the problem nationally as well as globally would be possible through strong collaboration by relevant stakeholders.

“I assure you that the ministry is committed to integrating the elements of this gathering into its NDC implementation efforts,” she added.