Nigerians turn to charcoal to cook as gas prices soar


Nigerians love their food, be it fried potato and plantain for breakfast, jollof rice for lunch or tuwo (rice balls) for supper – dishes often prepared on gas cookers.

But with the price of gas rising, cooks are now turning to charcoal, made from burning firewood.

A 3kg cylinder of gas, the smallest bottle available, now costs about $3 (£2.70).

This is almost twice the price it was last year, pushing it far beyond what middle-income earners can afford.

Habiba Abubakar, who runs a business selling cooking equipment online, says the demand for charcoal-fuelled stoves is on the increase.

But this has raised concern about the heath of people.

Dr Kwaifa Salihu, a consultant physician in the capital, Abuja, told the BBC that people who use charcoal are often more at risk of getting respiratory illnesses such as asthma.

Using charcoal-fuelled stoves indoors could also be life-threatening because of the carbon monoxide it gives off, he said.

This is in addition to the harm done to the environment as a result of tree-felling.

The authorities have over the years failed to implement a ban on illegal logging – a major issue, as parts of northern Nigeria are battling with desertification.


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