Vice President Namadi Sambo on Tuesday presided over a short ceremony meant to commence the distribution of 750,000 units of clean cooking stoves and 18,000 wonder bags procured by the outgoing administration.
The Federal Executive Council had, in November 2014, approved the purchase of N9.2billion worth of clean cooking stoves and wonder bags for rural women under the National Clean Cooking Scheme.
Sambo, who represented President Goodluck Jonathan, was billed to commence the distribution of the items to rural women who were pencilled down as the beneficiaries of the scheme.
But the Vice President merely unveiled a few of the items on display at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, during the brief event that lasted about 20 minutes.
On arrival at the venue, Sambo cut the tape and was conducted round the tables on which a few of the stoves were displayed and left almost immediately.
No beneficiary was present at the hall which was dominated by officials of the Ministry of Environment.
Shortly after unveiling the items, the Vice President told State House correspondents that the stoves would go a long way in reducing desertification in the county
He said, “One of the important global problems today is environmental problem. And desertification in Nigeria is one of our major environmental problems. And as a result, one of the major causes is this problem of cutting the trees and using the wood as a source of energy for cooking.
“This idea then came up to have alternative sources for cooking for our women.
“Mr. President has graciously approved this project for the initial take off under the Environment Ministry with the sum of N9 billion to procure these cooking utensils and distribute it all over the country to our women.
“And by so doing, contributes to stopping the usage of trees for firewood for cooking. In addition to that, it has added value of saving women from inhaling the smoke, which is responsible for the yearly death of about 90,000 women.
“We believe this is a very important contribution towards arresting desertification in Nigeria.”
On her part, the Minister of Environment, Mrs. Laraba Malam, said only 15 percent of N5 billion amounting to N1.3 billion has been paid to the contractor for all the supplies so far made.