President Goodluck Jonathan has released N5 billion to the Ministry of Environment for the purchase of clean cook stoves for rural women, a project which is expected to gulp N9.2 billion.
Minister of Environment Laurentia Mallam, who said this yesterday, added that the President will inaugurate the project today.
Mrs. Mallam said the stoves will be distributed to women in the rural areas through the state ministries of environment.
According to her, the contractor, Messrs Integra Renewable Energy Services Limited, has been given N1.3 billion from the N5 billion released by the Federal Government.
She spoke during an inspection visit to the Velodrome at the National Stadium, Abuja, where some of the 750,000 stoves were being assembled.
The minister added that clean cook stoves will help to discourage the use of firewood for cooking, which she said is one of the causes of desertification in the North.
She said: “We started in the northern parts of the country because of the challenges we are facing there with the desert encroaching into the country and people still cut down trees.
“Now, the President wants it to spread throughout the country and so we have this project.
“The ministry has received N5 billion so far. You know when N9.2 billion was approved by the Federal Government last year, we told Nigerians that N9.2 billion has been approved by the Federal Government. But so far, N5 billion has been released to the ministry.
“We have given the contractor 15 per cent, which is N1.3 billion. That is what we have released to the contractor and we still have N3.7 billion in the ministry’s account.”
Mrs. Mallam added that by 2020, most women in the rural areas will have access to the stoves.