FG plans to phase out can­dle and kerosene lamp

Daily Trust - - ENVIRONMENT - By Chidimma C. Okeke

Since in­de­pen­dence, Nigeria has been mak­ing con­certed ef­forts to make house­hold en­ergy avail­able to mil­lions of the people. This ef­fort has, how­ever, recorded very lit­tle suc­cess.

Cur­rently, the aver­age Nige­rian en­joys few hours of elec­tric­ity sup­ply from the na­tional grid, daily, leav­ing them with no choice but to source for al­ter­na­tive means of gen­er­at­ing their own power. Mean­while, fire­wood has be­come the thriv­ing source of en­ergy to mil­lions of Nige­ri­ans who can­not rely on the na­tional grid. De­spite its harm­ful na­ture to hu­mans and the en­vi­ron­ment, it re­mained the best al­ter­na­tive to many homes, es­pe­cially in the ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.

In the in­ter­est of pro­mot­ing a more se­cure, eco­nom­i­cally and en­vi­ron­men­tal re­spon­si­ble en­ergy fu­ture in the coun­try, re­new­able en­ergy which is in line with global prac­tices has been adopted as an al­ter­na­tive source of en­ergy over the tra­di­tional dirty fuel sources.

Since the launch of the re­new­able en­ergy pro­gramme in Nigeria in Fe­bru­ary 2012 the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­ment has been in the fore­front of ef­fort to sus­tain it but it is yet to get the leg­is­la­tion to en­able the pro­gramme as­sume the sta­tus of an agency.

In a state­ment re­leased by the Federal Min­istry of En­vi­ron­ment at the weekend, the Min­is­ter of En­vi­ron­ment, Lau­ren­tia Mal­lam, said that the min­istry is plan­ning to phase out the use of can­dles and kerosene lamps across the coun­try in the next twelve months, and re­place them with clean so­lar en­ergy lamps that are en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly.

Ac­cord­ing to the state­ment, she made the re­mark in Abuja while re­ceiv­ing a se­nior del­e­ga­tion of To­tal Group led by its Vice Pres­i­dent, Allen Scha­peaux. The To­tal Group is in­tro­duc­ing the new so­lar en­ergy lamp tech­nol­ogy into Nigeria.

Mal­lam said she is deeply con­cerned about the en­vi­ron­men­tal haz­ards caused by the use of can­dles and kerosene lanterns, which, she added, some­times lead to avoid­able deaths.

She also ex­plained that the switch over from the use of can­dles and kerosene lanterns will crash the price of kerosene and pos­si­bly elim­i­nate the use of can­dles in Nigeria, thereby im­prove the po­si­tion of the coun­try on the list of ozone friendly na­tions in line with the Trans­for­ma­tion Agenda of the Pres­i­dent Jonathan.

Mal­lam noted that apart from the en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits of the prod­uct, it will go a long way in solv­ing some so­cial, fi­nan­cial and eco­nomic chal­lenges as­so­ci­ated with the use of kerosene and can­dles. She re­vealed her de­ter­mi­na­tion to make Nigeria a can­dle – free na­tion.

The min­is­ter also promised a strong col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­ment and To­tal Group to en­sure that the new so­lar en­ergy lamp tech­nol­ogy which To­tal is in­tro­duc­ing into Nigeria is rapidly dis­trib­uted at af­ford­able price to the ru­ral poor.

While com­mend­ing To­tal Group for its ef­forts at man­u­fac­tur­ing a durable, cost-friendly, smoke-free, clean and re­new­able en­ergy lamp that will re­place the can­dle and sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce the use of kerosene in the coun­try, she promised to work with her coun­ter­parts in the min­istries of trade and in­vest­ment, fi­nance, health as well as ed­u­ca­tion to en­sure that the Clean En­ergy Lamp Project is a huge suc­cess in Nigeria.

Scha­peaux told the min­is­ter that To­tal in­tends to start the sale of the clean en­ergy so­lar lamps in Nigeria for twelve months and, there­after, es­tab­lish a plant for its pro­duc­tion in the coun­try to serve the en­tire West Africa.

He urged the min­is­ter to pro­mote the cam­paign for clean en­ergy, adding that the so­lar lamps of­fered pos­i­tive ac­tions against cli­mate change.

The so­lar en­ergy lamp has suc­cess­fully been in­tro­duced in Kenya, In­done­sia and Pak­istan

For Magnus Ibe, an ap­pli­cant, the in­tro­duc­tion of re­new­able en­ergy is a laud­able project, not­ing, how­ever, that it could be ex­pen­sive. “En­ergy cook­ing stove or so­lar lamps that can be pow­ered by nat­u­ral means is im­pres­sive but it is quite ex­pen­sive for so many Nige­ri­ans to af­ford. But if the govern­ment wants to make it avail­able and af­ford­able, it can.”

He added that the pos­si­bil­ity of phas­ing out can­dle and kerosene in the coun­try within the stip­u­lated pe­riod of twelve months is not re­al­is­able.

Eu­nice Agbo, a civil ser­vant be­lieves that it is pos­si­ble to phase can­dle and kerosene lamps. She said: “I think it is al­ready get­ting phased away with the ad­vent of recharge­able lamps, so govern­ment needs to in­ten­sify its ac­tion by tak­ing its prom­ises se­ri­ously and im­ple­ment all the pro­posed poli­cies that will bet­ter the lives of people.”

She said that it is dif­fi­cult to see people still us­ing can­dles or kerosene lamps in, ad­vis­ing that the project should be con­cen­trated in the ru­ral ar­eas.

The in­tro­duc­tion of so­lar light­ning sys­tem for homes and cook­ing is still a mi­rage to so many Nige­ri­ans who are yet to have ac­cess to it. The clean cook stove that was adopted un­der the Re­new­able En­ergy pro­gramme of the Federal Min­istry of En­vi­ron­ment tagged Ru­ral Women En­ergy Se­cu­rity (RUWES) was said to be tar­geted at un­der- served ru­ral women with the aim of en­sur­ing af­ford­able and sus­tain­able clean en­ergy ac­cess to the ru­ral poor as stated by the Na­tional Co­or­di­na­tor of Re­new­able En­ergy Pro­gramme in Nigeria, Engr. Bahi­j­jahtu Hadiza Abubakar, but how many women in ru­ral ar­eas can af­ford it?

Dur­ing the launch of RUWES, it could be re­called that the then Su­per­vis­ing Min­is­ter of En­vi­ron­ment, Arc. Dar­ius Ishaku ex­plained that the light­ning com­po­nent of RUWES has a goal of en­sur­ing af­ford­able and sus­tain­able clean en­ergy ac­cess to the ru­ral poor and re­duce black car­bon emis­sion by phas­ing out sin­gle-wick kerosene light­ning and oily lamp through the in­tro­duc­tion of small off grid light­ning sys­tems that use light emit­ting diodes (LEDS); and pro­vi­sion of house­hold stand- alone so­lar so­lu­tions.

Mean­while, the re­cent re­port on the price of clean cook stove that will be im­ported from Ger­many by Kaduna State govern­ment is N15, 000 but it will be giv­ing to ru­ral women at a sub­sidised rate of N7,500.

Maryam Giwa, a house­wife, said it is not af­ford­able for an aver­age Nige­rian woman to buy the clean cook stove at that price.

She ob­served: “I can­not buy a stove at that price be­cause it is ex­pen­sive. Be­sides, I need to see it at work and be sure it will serve me bet­ter than what I am us­ing now, it will be dif­fi­cult to use such amount on what you only hear of its worth and not tried.”

How­ever, the RUWES project, as good as it is, needs to be made af­ford­able and avail­able to the people, es­pe­cially the ru­ral poor.

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