Oando Marketing Plc’s Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) programme, under which the company introduced OGAS 3kilogramme cooking stove for low income households, is capable of solving the perennial problem of deforestation in Nigeria.
This revelation was one of the high points of the presentations and discussions during a recent Oando/ACCESS AFRICA - Agriculture, Climate Change and Entrepreneurship Support Services summit held in Abuja with the theme “’LPG as a climate control tool in Africa: The Sustainability Agenda’’.
According to the discussants, the clamour for the use of LPG for cooking was premised on the fact that it would check uncontrolled felling of trees for firewood, with its attendant deforestation and indoor air pollution.
This year’s summit, the first edition, which was chaired by a former First Lady and Founder Women's Right Advancement and Protection Alternative, (WRAPA), Justice Fati Abubakar, noted that over 90per cent of households in Nigeria use firewood or Kerosene despite harmful effects.
The summit acknowledged that though deforestation was a global challenge, it noted that a situation where three million cubic feet of wood was cut annually for firewood in a country, which ranked as sixth largest producer of natural gas in the world was unacceptable.
Chief Executive Officer, Oando Marketing Plc, Mr. Yomi Awobokun, in a lead presentation remarked that “annually, the country spends about N5billion to tackle desertification through the national afforestation programme”.
“This cost is avoidable. Nigeria is the sixth largest producer of gas in the world. If we government at all levels adopt the use of LPG as the preferred cooking fuel, avail the people, especially those in rural Nigeria, an affordable cooking stove like the OGAS 3kg stove, we will be making tremendous saving that can be committed to other important areas of our national life,” he said.
Citing statistics from relevant national and global bodies, the Operations Director of Access Africa, Mr. Jerome Okolo, in his presentation, said Nigeria lost 55.7per cent of its primary forests between 2000 and 2005.
With the country also losing 351,000 hectares of landmass to desert conditions, according to statistics, Okolo said the rationale behind the proposal for a switch from firewood to LPG was also to save the country from drought.
Okolo stated that the N760billion spent annually on kerosene by the Federal Government was equivalent to 16 per cent of the country’s annual capital budget. He said Nigeria requires only an estimated 20million cylinders to switch from Kerosene to LPG thereby saving the government over N760 billion annually.
The Oando’s initiative, which brought together many national and international stakeholders, including the British Department for International Development (DFID) to mobilise commitment towards the adoption of LPG as the preferred cooking fuel, was a boost to the United Nations collaborative programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (UN-REDD) in developing countries.
Oando plans to switch 5million homes from the use of dirty cooking fuels to LPG, a clean, safe, convenient, environmentally healthy, and affordable cooking fuel option through its OGAS 3kg initiative to address the menace of deforestation and other problems associated with the use of dirty fuels.