By Agbo Amauche, Abakaliki
The wife of the Governor of Ebonyi State, Mrs Mary-Maudline Nwifuru has expressed her avowed commitment and determination to tackle the cooking fuel challenges facing women in the State.
The Governor’s Wife stated this during the recently concluded Ebonyi State Clean Cooking Forum in Abakaliki, the State capital.
Mrs Nwifuru decried the rising cost of cooking fuel and the toll on the health of women as a result of the increasing use of fuelwood for cooking, saying that
the price of cooking gas has recently gone through the roof in many parts of the country, leading several families to resort to fuelwood for cooking in open fire.
Mrs Nwifuru pledged to work with all the branches of the Ebonyi State Government and the Chairmen of Local Government areas to provide access to efficient wood and charcoal cookstoves for rural women.
In his remarks, the Director General of the Ebonyi State Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (EBSMEDA), Dr Stephen Odo, emphasized the importance of local production of these efficient wood stoves in Ebonyi State.
According to Odo, “our agency is not only committed to solving the cooking energy problems of households in the state, we will work to training young people in the construction of these efficient cooking technologies, build small and medium sized enterprises, create new jobs and export clean cookstoves to other states”,
According to the Executive Director of ICEED and Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cooking, Ewah Eleri, “86% of households in Ebonyi State use wood in open fire for their daily cooking. With the current inflation in the prices of cooking gas and the unreliable supply of electricity, the demand for wood continue to soar. This has serious implications for the economy and health of families in the state. Already, the massive cutting of trees for fuelwood is leading to serious deforestation”, they added
In his goodwill message, Jochen Luckscheiter, Country Director, Heinrich Boell Foundation stated that “while the debate on clean cooking has gotten renewed traction in the last few years, what we need to start seeing now is commitments that go beyond the verbal and translate into the real world, making a difference in the lives of people at the grassroots”,
Speaking during the Ebonyi State Clean Cooking Forum, the Director of Climate Change in the Federal Ministry of Environment, Dr. Iniobong Abiola-Awe, highlighted the importance of implementing the national policy in states. According to her, “as the country strives to meet its climate change obligations and the commitments made for long term carbon emission reduction, it is therefore imperative to have a joint collaborative effort with states in ensuring that Nigerian households convert from the use of inefficient cooking fuels such as fuelwood, charcoal and kerosene to LPG and other efficient cooking fuels”, she concluded
Recall that the German Foundation has partnered with the Ebonyi State Government to develop a state-level programme on clean cooking. The Federal Government has recently developed a national policy on clean cooking.
The Ebonyi State Clean Cooking Forum was organized by the International Centre for Energy, Environment and Development (ICEED) in partnership with the Office of the wife of the Governor of Ebonyi State and the Ebonyi State EBSMEDA.
The forum brought together important stakeholders to commit to a common cause in implementing the Ebonyi State Clean Cooking Programme. It took stock of current status of the implementation of the programme, discussed the role of the state in strengthening public private partnership on clean cooking in Ebonyi state as well as scaling-up awareness and sensitization on clean cooking among others.