People’s Democratic Party chieftain and former Delta State gubernatorial aspirant, Chief Sunny Onuesoke has raised the alarm over astronomical rise of price of cooking gas, also known as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) known as cooking gas.
The PDP chieftain lamented that the price of refilling 12.5kg cylinder of the gas which had been between N3,200 and N3,500 for a very long time suddenly rose to N7,500, adding that cylinder hitherto that sold for N1,500 now sells for N2,500.
The PDP Chieftain who addressed the media in his office in Warri, Delta State argued that the recent increase of price of the product was outrageous, considering the current harsh situations in the country.
He cautioned that the initial objective of domestic availability and preservation of our forest will be defeated if cooking gas goes out of the reach of ordinary Nigerians due to the current increment in prices of the commodity.
Onuesoke expressed dismay that a country so richly blessed in gas can be so plagued by the skyrocketing prices.
“According to a report by the NLNG, Nigeria is blessed with abundant reserves of both associated and non-associated gas, estimated to be in excess of 202 trillion standard cubic feet.
The World Factbook, a reference resource produced by the Central Intelligence Agency, stated that Nigeria ranks ninth in terms of proven natural gas reserves in the world after Algeria. It was estimated that the reserve would last for over 100 years.
“However, despite having the capacity to produce such quantum of LPG, it allocates only 350,000 metric tonnes to the Nigerian domestic market that requires about 1.2 million annually, while the rest is exported. One wonders why the NLNG cannot fully supply the domestic market with the volume it requires,” Onuesoke argued.
He recounted that while some end users, especially housewives and low-income earners, are left with no choice but to gradually adapt to the situation by squeezing out as much, most rural dwellers and those in the hinterland that rely on the product for business have been forced to abandon their gas cylinders for firewood, charcoal and sawdust in spite of the inconveniences and health hazards associated with their use.
Quoting World Health Organisation, WHO, Onuesoke said household air pollution causes non-communicable diseases that include stroke, ischemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer, adding that close to half of deaths due to pneumonia among children under five years of age are caused by particulate matter (soot) inhaled from household air pollution.
According to him, “Based on a 2013 World Health Organisation report, 98,000 Nigerian women die each year from the use of firewood, with thousands more at risk of serious health problems. With the recent 70 percent increase of prices of cooking gas that means the population of death from use of firewood would increase astronomically.
Onuesoke called for the full domestication of LPG, noting, “What this means is that the NLNG should give the domestic market the required 1.2 million metric tonnes and export the rest as it produces 22 million tonnes, instead of exporting the same, only for the country to import it back.