The Federal Government on Tuesday in Nasarawa state commenced the distribution of cooking gas to 13,000 rural women across the state as part of efforts to check hazardous emissions.
Mrs Pauline Tallen, Minister of Women Affairs, while flagging off the exercise in Lafia, said it was the first phase of the National Cooking Gas project and Tree planting initiative of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Tallen said that the President had directed the supply of cooking gas cylinders to 1,000 rural women in each of the 774 local government areas across the country.
The minister explained that the project being piloted in Nasarawa state would be executed in three phases across the country.
She said the timing of the project was apt in view of the world’s attention towards reducing effects of green-house emission in the society.
“According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), emission from cook stoves kills about 4.3 million people annually through air pollution and indoor smoke inhalation causing respiratory diseases and death.
“This event is to create awareness and sensitise the public, particularly women and other stakeholders, on the effect of using firewood for cooking.
“It is also to sensitise them on the health and environmental problems associated with cooking with firewood, and to introduce the women to the use of alternate clean stoves,’’ Tallen said.
Similarly, the Minister also flagged off economic tree planting exercise as part of efforts towards addressing effects of deforestation and climate change.
“This is also in line with Mr President’s pledge at the United Nations General Assembly session in 2019 to plant 25 million tree within one year,’’ she said.
She advised the state, local government areas and civil society organisations to support federal government effort to scale down the project to the various communities.
Nasarawa governor Abdullahi Sule in a speech at the occasion, commended the federal government for the initiative and for choosing Nasarawa state for the pilot phase.
He urged the people of the state to embrace the use of alternate clean stove for cooking rather than firewood given the related poisonous gas emission hazard.
Sule pointed out that Nasarawa state had already keyed into the tree planting campaign having launched it in August 2019 in Akwanga local government area.
He, therefore, called on the people to imbibe the culture of tree planting by replacing any tree fell with three new ones.
Hajiya Halima Jabiru, Nasarawa State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, lauded the federal and state governments for their women-friendly dispositions.
She urged the beneficiaries to use the cooking gas for the purpose it was meant as the ministry had taken measures to ensure they do not sell them.