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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Economic hardship: Archbishop Kaigama inaugurates ‘Environmental Regeneration Briquette Project’

Archbishop of the Catholic Diocese of Abuja, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, has inaugurated the “Environmental Regeneration Briquette Project”, to ensure a better environment and address the economic challenges of Nigerians.

Rev. Ignatius Kaigama
Archbishop of the Catholic Diocese of Abuja, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama

Kaigama, while inaugurating the project, said it would provide eco-friendly alternatives to firewood, targeting households struggling with harsh economic conditions, in Sheda, Kwali, FCT.

He said the project has the potential to reduce emissions and pollution, urging everyone to participate in environmental conservation.

He emphasised the project’s importance in protecting and preserving the environment, noting its significant impact on households and the broader community.

The briquette production plant project is the initiative of Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC), a Catholic Church NGO, and funded by Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD).

Earlier, the Chairman, JDPC, Mr Josephat Abaagu, expressed gratitude to CAFOD for its funding support, highlighting the project’s focus on environmental sustainability and community empowerment.

According to him, the project is aimed at empowering women, youth, and parishes within the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja and beyond by providing sustainable energy sources.

Abaagu said the importance of empowering marginalised groups and creating economic opportunities could not be over emphasised.

“This project is not just about producing eco-friendly charcoal but about empowering women, youth, and perishes within Archdiocese of Abuja and beyond.

“By providing alternative sustainable sources of energy, we are not only reducing the strains on our environment but also creating economic opportunities for marginalised groups in the society.

“Through this project, we aimed to provide training, resources, and support to enable our women and youth to participate actively in the production and marketing of briquettes charcoal,” he said.

Abaagu said this would not only improve their livelihoods but also foster a sense of ownership and pride in their contribution to environment conservation.

He called for collaboration and support from stakeholders to ensure the project’s success, urging everyone to work towards a more sustainable and inclusive future.

Giving an overview of the project, Mr Timothy Ejeh, the Programmes Director, JDPC, said the project was the organisation’s commitment to social justice and human dignity, particularly focusing on empowering women and youth.

He said the project, “Livelihood Support and Environmental Regeneration through the use of Eco-Friendly Briquettes Project seeks to improve livelihoods and reduce reliance on traditional biomass fuels.”

The project, in partnership with CAFOD, would address the rising demand for firewood in Nigeria through the production of briquettes from bio-waste materials.

Ejeh, who said the project’s deliverables, included a reduction in conventional fuel use and improved livelihoods for vulnerable populations, called for support from stakeholders to ensure its success.

“This project will provide economic opportunities and promote environmental sustainability, and we have two machines, one locally made which will be producing this briquettes charcoal for our consumption (market).

“The two machines have the capacity to produce 200,000 briquettes charcoal daily.  This is to tell you that we are market ready.

“We also introduced what is called ‘Cash for trash’. That’s when you provide us with raw materials to be used to produce these briquettes, and there’s going to be 65 per cent reduction in our supply to you,’’ he said.

Ejeh said when the project started earlier; the raw materials were available and almost free.

He said later people discover what it was meant for, which lead to price increase, and accessing it becomes difficult, hence the introduction of the “Cash for trash” project.

While saying that the stoves were also available and were in different sizes and amounts, Ejeh urged Nigerians to make use of this golden opportunity, adding that it was cheaper compared to gas.

A representative from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Mr Michael Adegboye, said that this project would not only provide a source of livelihood to many people but also help in climate change mitigation.

“Obviously, this is a good way to join hands with the government in rural socio-economic development, which is an aspect of my ministry’s mandate.

“Similarly, the project will help reduce environmental degradation, which is necessary for improved agricultural production.

“I therefore enjoin the beneficiaries of this important project to make judicious use of it and ensure its proper maintenance.

“I want you to know that the Federal Government is doing everything possible to ensure that there is food on the table of Nigerian citizens,” he said.

On his part, Mr Kelechi Emeh, the Country Representative, CAFOD, appreciated the inauguration of briquette production plant.

He noted that this would help in mitigating the use of unsustainable practices such as deforestation and inefficient burning techniques which have led to widespread air pollution and health hazard.

“This event marks a milestone in addressing the growing concern about the environmental impact of the traditional charcoal production methods and underscores the efforts of CAFOD in ending this menace.

“In response to these challenges, CAFOD funded and supported the development of this safe briquettes charcoal as a sustainable alternative that offers a promising solution for a cleaner and healthier future,’’ he said.

By Philomina Attah

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