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UNDP, government launch Ushafa community’s energy efficient stoves scheme

By Chinedum Uwaegbulam and Cornelius Essen
06 June 2016   |   1:06 am
In a move to reduce risks to human health and to the environment, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu has called for a collaboration effort among various agencies in its ministry...
Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu

Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu

In a move to reduce risks to human health and to the environment, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu has called for a collaboration effort among various agencies in its ministry to deepen Nigeria’s quest to utilise renewable energy and coal efficiently.

He spoke at the official launching of a Two-Week Hands-On Training of Rural Youths and Women Potters on the Design, Fabrication and Installation of Locally Made Clay and Metal – Based Energy Efficient Woodstoves organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with the Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) at Ushafa community in Bwari LGA, Abuja, Federal Capital Territory.

The training builds on the existing welding and pottery expertise of rural youths and women to enhance their capacity in the design, fabrication and installation of energy-efficient clay and metal-based wood cookstoves. It will also help in creating jobs, improve the standard of living of rural dwellers and enhance environmental benefits.

For the minister, the contribution of renewable energy to the energy mix in the country is something that has to improve.He said the government expects that at the end of the training, the participants would lead the way in the efficient use of energy, adding that they were also expected to take environment-friendly decisions.

Onu said: “We want a situation where we can use our coal in energy and power generation. Many countries depend on their coal and our coal has very low sulphur content. So, we believe that the Energy Commission of Nigeria will help us to do more research to see that when we use coal it does not hurt our environment. We believe that our energy needs are very important in the direction that the nation is going.

“We need to industrialise, we need to produce more than we are doing now. So far, we are essentially a consumer nation and this is not good for our country. We need to produce and we cannot continue to depend on only few sources of energy in the power generation capacity of our nation and I believe that the Energy Commission of Nigeria will play this very important role to make sure that we as a nation will be able to meet our own energy needs.”

UNDP Country Representative, Dr. Pa Lamin Beyai called for collective action towards a more environmentally sustainable pathway. “Energy is essential to meeting basic human needs – food production, running water, heat, light and transport are all dependent on energy access. Poor access to energy has severe impacts on health, quality of life, education and economic productivity. Renewable, clean energy, climate change, gender equality are key ingredients to the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030,” he said.

He disclosed that the training is designed to help secure multiple environmental and socio-economic benefits, including reduced GHG emission from reduced fuel wood consumption, enhanced carbon storage and sequestration as well as improve rural livelihood and opportunity for local development.

“The young people, especially women in the rural communities usually have limited opportunities for employment. It is our hope that this trainingwill partly alleviate that by increasing your individual and collective economic and social values.”

He urged all participants to make the best use of the opportunity provided by the training. “For the people of Ushafa Community, we recognise and commend your collective interest and willingness to participate in the training, and wish you all the best of luck in this noble endeavour.”

He assured the minister of UNDP’s collaboration in the actualisation of national development priorities and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

”The Chief Executive Officer of the Energy Commission of Nigeria, Prof. Jidere Bala said the improved wood stoves technologies have many advantages over the traditional three-stove open fire stoves. These advantages include: Lower operating cost, in terms of time and money, since less biomass fuel would be used arising from higher efficiencies; It particularly it enhances opportunity for girl-child education.