Some women in Bwari Area Council of the FCT have complained of the rise in cost of firewood and charcoal, attributing it to the hike in price of cooking gas.
The women who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in different communities of the council, said that demand for the products had increased and so had the prices.
Phoebe Ishaku, a resident of Piyawe community, and a mother of four, said that she used firewood and sometimes charcoal-fueled stove to cook but could not get an alternative due to the hike in prices of all cooking fuels.
She said that firewood and charcoal were a cheaper means of cooking and more accessible compared with kerosene and cooking gas but the hike in price had made them difficult to access.
She urged the government to help women cope with the situation, by making cooking fuel affordable.
“We have women who sell firewood here for as low N100 for a few pieces at the beginning of 2022 but I tell you now, you can only get four tiny or three big pieces for N200.
“Earlier in the year, I bought a bag of charcoal for N2,500, now that same bag is N3,800.
“This is because most people have resorted to cooking with these products, as alternatives to cooking gas and kerosene-fueled stoves, since both products have become expensive.
“Nothing is easy for us now. Sometimes you cannot even get charcoal easily, except you book from the suppliers or wholesalers before the product arrives because the demand is becoming high.
“If only the relevant authorities can just look into the fuel situation in the country and bring an ease to it, or else, it is already affecting us at the grassroot, there’s nothing else to turn to.”
Similarly, Auta Bature, a wife and mother of five in the Sabon-gari area of the council, said that she initially used a kerosene stove to cook but could not afford it any longer because of the cost.
According to her, a litre of kerosene now sells for N900 and she would need up to five litres to cook for her large family.
“This will not even take us up to two weeks because the kerosene they sell these days easily evaporates; I don’t know why it doesn’t last.
“So now, buying a bag of charcoal and gathering firewood while returning from the farm has been a bit more effective for us. We manage that better,” Mrs Bature said.
Hannah Dangana, a supplier of charcoal in the area, told NAN that the situation was not different in most households in the community.
She said that Nigerians were turning to the use of firewood and charcoal for cooking due to the hike in the price of cooking gas.
Ms Dangana explained that the women may suffer the health implications from cooking with firewood but added that the old tradition remained the cheapest means of cooking for them.
“Many women in the communities cannot do without firewood and charcoal because that is the only cheap source of cooking they have.
“Especially with the scarcity and soaring cost of clean cooking fuels like gas, electricity and kerosene.
“There was a time government and some concerned NGOs were trying to encourage the use of cooking gas and discourage local cooking fuel because of the health implications and deforestation related issues.
“Now, the situation is further made worse by the recent scarcity and soaring prices of cooking gas, which has pushed many households back to the forest in search of firewood and use of charcoal.
“Even those of us who supply have our challenges bringing them down here to sell, because we spend so much on transportation and levies.
“The challenges are increasing with no option for Nigerians.
“Although this is a profitable business for me irrespective, I however, urge the government to bring down the prices of cooking fuels, so that Nigerians can at least enjoy something.”