Leadership (Abuja)

15 December 2012

Nigeria: Group Says 15.3 Million Households Lack Access to Grid Electricity

Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, a group of non-governmental bodies, on Saturday in Abuja said 15.3 million households in Nigeria lack access to grid electricity.

Mr Ewah Eleri, the alliance's Co-ordinator, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that electricity supply to those connected to the national grid was also unreliable at best.

He said per capita electricity consumption has been less than 150KWh per annum with the rural areas suffering the most electricity deprivation.

"Energy poverty in the country has gone beyond lack of access to electricity," the co-ordinator said.

According to Eleri, an estimated 72 per cent of Nigerians depend solely on wood as a source of fuel for cooking.

"Contrary to the expectations of the National Energy Policy of 2003, deepening poverty has forced a reversal in the transition to modern and efficient energy forms.

"Today, more Nigerians are climbing down the energy ladder, moving from electricity, gas and kerosene to fuel wood and other traditional biomass energy forms," he said.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), cooking smoke from traditional biomass stoves has caused 95,300 deaths in Nigeria annually.

"After malaria and HIV/AIDS, smoke is the biggest killer of mostly women and children.

"In addition to this health problem, traditional biomass stoves burn 90 per cent more wood than is necessary.

"This has thus cost poor families and institutions money that could be put to better use on education, health, and nutrition," it had said.

Eleri said women and children in rural areas spend several hours a week fetching wood, saying such time could have been spent in activities that would empower them.

"Moreover, millions of open fires in Nigerian homes contribute to the build-up of greenhouse gases that cause climate change," he said.

The alliance co-ordinator said the pro-poor energy access, which is a project aimed at expanding electricity access to rural areas, is the way to go to change the situation.

"It has the quantity and quality energy services that are accessible, affordable and sustainable, and it also empowers both men and women, especially the poor," he said.

Eleri however said it would focus on measures to scale up low carbon electricity services and as well as cooking energy.

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