‘Kerosene causes health hazards for Nigerians’

Consumers queue for Kerosene.

*Typical scramble for Kerosene.

04 November 2015, Lagos – The Executive Vice Chairman of Techno Oil Limited, Mrs. Nkechi Obi has stated that no fewer than 30 million households and women in Nigeria are subjected to health hazards associated with the use of kerosene and firewood as domestic fuels.

Speaking when he chaired a session during the recent 9TH Oil Trading and Logistics (OTL) Downstream Expo/Exhibition held in Lagos, Obi declared that Nigerian women must not cook to die but to live.

According to her, the government and those in authority should as a matter of urgency change the paradigm shift to a cleaner source of energy for cooking.

She noted that firewood and kerosene remain the most often used domestic fuels in Nigeria, which have caused high level decimation of women due to smoke which she said is more dangerous than cigarette smoke.

“Cooking with firewood is a silent killer because firewood smoke is more dangerous than cigarette smoke,” she added

Citing a recent World Health Organisation report, she said that cooking with firewood often resulted to indoor pollution, which globally accounted for over four million deaths every year.

“Why must we continue to decimate our women population and keep pretending as if nothing is happening?” she asked.

Obi used her advocacy the ‘Techno Oil Cooksafe Initiative’ through a well-packaged emotional documentary to inform government on the consequences of the prolonged use of biomass and kerosene for cooking which has led to increased lung diseases, aggravated asthma, premature death and greenhouse emission leading to climate change.

“Government should put up an enabling environment that will encourage a switch to clean source of energy for cooking which will lead to improved health and elimination associated with cooking with biomass fuel. Reduce and subsequently eliminate cooking with fossils, save government huge sum paid in form of kerosene subsidy and preserve the environment,” she explained.

Obi said there was need to exploit Nigeria’s huge gas reserve, estimated at about 187 trillion cubic feet (tcf).

The Techno Oil boss lamented that Nigeria still ranked lowest in sub-Saharan Africa in per capita usage of LPG, consuming 1.1 kilogramme (kg) compared with Ghana at 3.0 kg.

“South Africa consumes 5.5kg, while Morocco consumes 44kg per capita,” she said.

The Techno Oil chief argued that making more Nigerians to embrace cooking gas instead of using firewood would help in the drive to sustain the environment and preserve the fragile Eco-system.

Obi listed some challenges that had been making it difficult for more Nigerians to embrace LPG, citing inadequate public awareness on safety, limited distributive outlets such as refilling plants and high cost of LPG cylinders amongst others.
*Ejiofor Alike – Thisday

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