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 organised by the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cooking in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Environment and other partners, and with support from Henrichi Boell Stiftung (HBS) and 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.

The Honourable Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen OFR, KSG, represented by Mrs. Funke Oladipo, in her goodwill message, 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.

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”.

Head of Nigeria Energy Support Programme (NESP), Mr. Duke Benjamin in his address 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.

By Dotun Roy

DotunRoy.com is a development driven news website with the overall goal of amplifying, promoting and advocating for positive societal change through Sustainable Development advocacy in line with UN SDGs components such as education, environmental sustainability and Climate Change, Human Rights, health, finance, housing, good governance as well as security in Nigeria and across the world.

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