Nigerian govt assures rural communities of renewable energy

Rural electrification13 December 2013, Abuja – The Federal Ministry of Environment on Thursday assured that it would provide solar energy to rural communities through its Rural Energy Access Programme, REAP.

The Supervising Minister for Environment, Mr Darius Ishaku, made this known at the 4th Annual Nigeria Renewable Energy Day in Abuja.

He said the ministry had started enlightening rural communities on energy switches that reduce emission and save lives through the programme.

“This includes the installation of Solar Home Systems to 600 households in Matum Biu in Gasol Local Government Area of Taraba.

“This we intend to extend to do in other parts of the country so that we can have the Kerosene lamp switch off grid communities,” he said.

According to him, Nigeria is the world’s largest importer of diesel generators, considering the emission factor this statistic, the cloud hovering over our major cities is directly linked to health hazards of inhabitants.

The minister said Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCP) had become a major development issue that calls for quick and significant worldwide action starting with individual country activities.

“We, therefore, believe that Renewable Energy Programme of the ministry will help to educate, synergise and possibly scale up the development of clean and renewable energies as a means to reduce emissions of black carbon, methane and other SLCP.

“Nigeria is embarking on a Green Investment Destination for Green Investors,” he said.

The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Environment, Rep. Uche Ekwunife, spoke on the ‘Role of Legislation on the Environment’, and urged Nigerians to embrace renewable energy.

Represented by Mr Ganiyu Olukolu, a member of the committee, Ekwunife said the National Assembly was committed to addressing environmental challenges through formulation of some legislation.

Ekwunife said one of the ways was the Petroleum Industry Bill, adding that the law when passed would help to address environmental pollution.

In his keynote address, Sen. Bukola Saraki, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology, said air pollution and black carbon emission were detrimental to human health.

Saraki said the use of traditional cooking methods were issues that affect women and children mostly in rural areas.

“Globally, there are over four million deaths every year due to household air pollution, is the third most significant risk factor, killing almost 70,000 people every year-more than half of whom are children.

“This form of biomass energy use for cooking no doubt justifies the development of sustainable clean cook stove programme in Nigeria,” Saraki said.

He said providing environment for a thriving market for clean cook stoves was arguably the best strategy for the country to reach the last mile in adopting clean cook stoves technology and fuel.

Saraki said it was important for the stakeholders to have a collective plan that would hold them accountable and committed to playing a role in the efforts to reach a target.

“A target to reach at least 10 million households with cleaner forms of cooking energy and technologies by 2020,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Saraki launched the National Assembly Intervention on the Clean Cooking Initiative (NAICCI).

According to him, NAICCI is borne out of the National Assembly’s budgetary appropriation in 2012 and 2013 to purchase clean cook stoves as a legislative intervention in some pilot states.

He appealed to members of the assembly to replicate the idea in their different constituencies.
NAN reports that the stakeholders observed a minute silence for late Patrick Yakowa, the governor of Kaduna and an ambassador of renewable energy,in the country.

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