The wife of the Governor of Ebonyi State, Mary-Maudline Uzoamaka Nwifuru, has declared her commitment to tackle the cooking fuel challenges facing women in the state.
During the recently concluded Ebonyi State Clean Cooking Forum, Mrs Nwifuru decried the rising cost of cooking fuel and the toll on the health of women because of the increasing use of fuelwood for cooking.
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 Governments 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, emphasised the importance of local production of these efficient wood stoves in the state.
Odo said: “Our agency is not only committed to solving the cooking energy problems of households in the state, but we will also 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.”
The Ebonyi State Clean Cooking Forum was organised 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).
Executive Director of ICEED and Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cooking, Ewah Eleri, said: “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.”
In his goodwill message, Jochen Luckscheiter, Country Director, Heinrich Boell Foundation, stated: “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.”
The German Foundation has partnered with the Ebonyi State Government to develop a state-level programme on clean cooking. The Federal Government recently developed a National Policy on Clean Cooking.
Speaking during the Ebonyi State Clean Cooking Forum, the Director of Climate Change Department in the Federal Ministry of Environment, Dr. Iniobong Abiola-Awe, highlighted the importance of implementing the national policy in states.
“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 submitted.
The forum brought together important stakeholders to commit to a common cause in implementing the Ebonyi State Clean Cooking Programme. It took stock of 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 sensitisation on clean cooking, among others.