Several residents of some states in the South-West zone are lamenting the astronomical increase in the price of cooking gas, saying it is severely affecting them.
The residents told journalists in separate interviews that unless the government intervened urgently, the situation might force them to discard using gas for cooking.
Currently, 12.5 kilogramme (kg) of gas now sells between N10,000 and N10,625 as against the N8,700 it was sold in some parts of the zone. A 6 kg equivalent goes for between N4,800 and N5,100 instead of N4,176.
The residents, who expressed shock at the cooking gas situation, said that they never prepared for such an astronomical increase.
A housewife, Eunice Alabi, a resident of Ayegun-Fasade in Egbeda Local Government Area (LGA) of Oyo State, said the situation is not economically wise for her.
“A low income-earner like me cannot afford to buy a kilogramme of cooking gas at a cost of N850. That is the situation we are in now,” she said.
Michael Tubosun, a commercial motorcycle operator at Iwo-Road in Ibadan North-East LGA, contended that using gas to cook now had become the exclusive right of the rich, as he had bought a charcoal pot for his wife to cook.
Also, a roadside beans and yam vendor at Oluwo junction in Egbeda LGA, Jelilat Yusuf, said she had embraced firewood for cooking.
Although she expressed concern about the smoke from firewood, which she said might not be good for her health, Ms Yusuf said she had no choice.
An environmentalist, Bola Ogunrinde, however, said using the alternatives to gas could be dangerous to health.
“Dioxin, one of the substances released when plastic is used and inhaled, can instantly cause coughing, shortness of breath, and dizziness,” he stated.
A gas retailer, Zacheaus Akinlabi, also said he had witnessed a marked reduction in the number of customers patronising him due to the sudden increase in gas prices.
“Since the hike in the price of gas, some of my customers have stopped patronising me, while the few that come around only buy the few kilogrammes they can afford,” Mr Akinlabi said.
Florence Akpan, a food vendor in the Adeoyo area of Ijebu-Ode, said sales had dropped significantly due to increased gas prices.
“I now cook small quantities of food because sales have really gone down, and there is nothing I can do because I have to cover my cost and add a small profit margin too, ” she said.
A gas retailer, Kabiru Adegoke, said the price of cooking gas was not stable “as it goes up and down in a matter of days.
“Patronage has really been affected due to the high cost of gas per kg, now N840 from the N700 we sold two weeks ago.
For John Akpan, a landlord in the Mowe area of Obafemi-Owode LGA of Ogun, he has had to unfortunately ban the use of charcoal in his house.
Mr Akpan said his tenants had resorted to using charcoal after the gas price increase. He said the kitchen and other areas within his two-storey building had become messy, with the walls stained with coal.
The situation is the same in Ilorin in Kwara, as most residents have resorted to the use of charcoal and firewood due to the hike in the price of gas.
Munirat Bello, a teacher at a private school in Ilorin, said
she had embraced using charcoal to complement the little gas she could afford.
An artisan, Titilayo Oshagbemi, said she had stopped patronising gas stations due to the hike in the price of the product.
“I prefer to buy a bag of charcoal at the rate of between N3,000 to N3,300 than to buy 5 kg gas at the rate of N4,750 or N5,400, while the charcoal will last longer than gas,” she said.
An environmentalist, James Akinyemi, said using nylons and plastic to aid the burning of charcoal could result in cancer.
” Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and dioxins are among the most toxic chemicals commonly released into the air when burning plastics.
”Chronic exposure to these chemicals can interfere with hormone functions and cause cancer. So, it is better to avoid burning of plastics and nylons as much as possible,” he said.
To Kayode Ahmed, an environmentalist, one of the possible
consequences of using firewood and charcoal for cooking is
Mr Ahmed said such a situation could arise when trees were not planted to replace those being cut for firewood.
Another environmentalist, Ola Oresanya, maintained that the use of biogas and solar stoves as alternative sources of cooking might not be detrimental to the environment.