The federal government yesterday begins distribution of N5 billion clean cooking stoves for rural women all over the country.
According to Vice President Namadi Sambo, the stoves would help to a greater extent to reduce desertification in the country.
The prices of the stoves locally assembled in Nigeria ranges between N3,000 and N36,000.
Sambo who spoke at the launch of the stoves in the Banquet Hall of the presidential villa, Abuja noted that stoves would also boost job creation as well as reduce smoke related diseases among the rural women.
He said, “One of the important global problems today is environmental problem. And desertification in Nigeria is one of our major environmental problems. And as a result, one of the major causes is this problem of cutting the trees and using the wood as a sourceof energy forcooking.
“This idea then came up to have alternative sources for cooking for our women. So, this programme, which Mr. President has graciously approved for the initial take off under the Environmental Ministry with the sum of N9 billion to procurethese cooking utensils and distribute it all over the country to our women.
“And by so doing, contributes to stopping the usage of trees for firewood for cooking. In addition to that, it has added value of saving women from inhaling the smoke, which is responsible for the yearly death of about 90,000 women. We believe this is a very important contribution towards arresting desertification in Nigeria”.
Minister of Environment, Mrs. Laraba Malam hinted that only 15 percent of N5 billion amounting to N1.3 billion has been paid to the contractor for all the supplies so far made.
She explained that the stoves will be distributed through the Ministry of Environment in every state of the Federation and the local governments.
She said, “We have only paid 15 percent to the contractor and he hassupplied. There is no controversy about the cost of the contract. The truth is that Mr. President and the Federal Executive Council approved N9 billion for 750,000 pieces of the clean stove.
“Meanwhile N5 billion was released to the Ministry and the Ministry following due process gave him 15 percent, which is N1.3 billion and he has supplied. So no controversy here”
.Asked whether the incoming government will continue with the project, she said, “I don’t see any government terminating it. I want to believe that the incoming government will continue because government is all about continuity”.