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Firewood sellers make profit as Nigerians abandon costly cooking gas

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Firewood sellers make profit as Nigerians abandon costly cooking gas

The high cost of cooking gas has now forced some residents of the south-south zone to start using firewood and charcoal for cooking, a Nigerian News Agency investigation has found.

The survey conducted by NAN shows that 1 kilogram of gas is now sold for N900 against N700 while 12.5 kilograms is now N11 250.

Calabar resident Eno Akan says she now buys bundled firewood at the Beach Market in the capital of Cross River, due to the high cost of cooking gas.

According to Ms. Akan, the country’s difficult economic situation has put a strain on her household, so she has opted for a cheaper and affordable alternative.

Beach Market firewood merchant Samuel Bassey said most restaurants as well as individuals in Calabar now frequent him.

However, Bassey said that the sponsorship of firewood was much higher than that of charcoal.

“Due to the increase in the price of gas, we have experienced a boom in the sale of firewood. As we speak, I just got a call to deliver 50 packs of firewood to a restaurant in Calabar, ”he said.

However, a housewife, Theresa Odum, told NAN that despite the high cost of gas, she still preferred to use it to cook her meals rather than using firewood.

“I can’t stand the smoke coming out of the firewood. In addition, there is no space in my house for firewood to cook, ”Ms. Odum said.

The director of forest management at the state’s Department of the Environment, David Egbe, said that despite the government ban on cutting down trees, some people were still involved in the act.

“The Cross River government prohibits logging in any form. But most people are still involved in the act because the level of prosecution of offenders is low, ”said Mr. Egbe.

An environmentalist, James Okon, says the use of firewood for cooking has health implications.

According to Okon, the smoke generated by firewood exposes women to diseases such as tuberculosis, asthma, high blood pressure and lung cancer.

Meanwhile, the director of forest management at the State Forestry Commission, Timothy Odey, said the commission has hundreds of rangers protecting forests from deforestation.

According to Margret Ephraim, a housewife based in Port Harcourt, the lack of electricity supply and high electricity prices sometimes force Nigerians to use charcoal for cooking.

“If cooking gas is affordable and electricity becomes readily available and affordable, domestic use of firewood and charcoal will naturally disappear,” Ms. Ephraim added.

For another interviewee, Sofia Edet, firewood could no longer be seen as a cheap alternative to cooking gas as it could no longer be bought freely.

“I think the problem is the non-availability of cooking gas in local communities.

“A pile of firewood that was sold for 1,000 N is now 5,000 N, while transport to a residential area swallows up up to 3,000 N.

“For us at Andoni LGA, we do not find it easy to collect firewood from the forests around us as there is currently a regulation against logging and poaching,” said Edet.

Meanwhile, an environmentalist, Maxwell Ijaan, urged authorities in local communities to start engaging in vigorous tree planting.

“Some communities have rainforests / swamps. These areas should be excluded from any form of human activity such as agriculture, hunting and tree felling, ”suggested Mr. Ijaan.

An interviewee in Benin, Comfort Omoriege, said that although she preferred gas, the exorbitant price of the commodity had forced her to resort to charcoal and firewood for cooking.

Ms Omoriege laments that a 12.5 kg bottle that she filled for less than 4000 N is now 10,000 N.

She said the amount was too high for her.

In addition, another resident of Benin, Mary Thompson, called on the federal government to urgently address the sharp increase in the price of gas, as it has increased the hardships of the population.

Miss Thompson, who said she still managed to buy gas for cooking, however noted that many could no longer afford the cost.

“I don’t use charcoal or firewood for cooking because of the stains and waste of time. However, the current price of cooking gas may force someone to rethink and look for an alternative, ”she said.

Meanwhile, the Edo government has insisted that illegal logging of trees for charcoal, firewood or any other purpose remains banned in the state.

Lucky Wasa, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, said that instead, the state is regenerating its forest through a partnership with Rongtai Wood Industry in the Ikpoba-Okha local government area. .

“We plant 10 million trees every year; we have many NGOs that we also work with. We encourage our timber contractors and those in the timber industry to also reforest.

“We have also created environmental clubs in selected public and private schools across the state, enlightening them on the need to plant trees and the importance of the green environment,” Mr. Wasa said.

Regarding action against the violation, the permanent secretary said the government generally prosecuted violators in accordance with the provisions of the law.

In the Delta, firewood and charcoal sellers say they have seen increased sales in the past two months, despite the slight increase in commodity prices.

They attribute the situation to the continued increase in the prices of cooking gas and kerosene.

Ifeanyi Olikeze, a charcoal trader at the Midwifery Market, Okpanam Road, Asaba, said in July that she had sold a bag of charcoal for N1,000, but since September she has been selling it for N1. 200 N.

“Despite this increase, more and more people are buying charcoal and sales have really increased,” Olikeze said.

For her part, Ruth Azu, a firewood vendor on DLA Road, Asaba, said the price of a bundle of firewood has increased from N400 to N500.

Ms Azu also said she has seen more sales in recent months.

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