9.2 Billion Naira Clean Cook Stove Project In More Controversy
The contractor handling the now controversial 9.2 billion Naira presidential intervention Clean Cook Stoves meant for rural women in Nigeria says the Ministry of Environment is not in a position to cancel the contract.
The Ministry of Environment had earlier given indications that it would terminate the contract for the distribution of the 750,000 Clean Cook Stoves and 18,000 Wonder Bags.
Addressing a news conference, as part of activities to mark the 2015 World Environment Day, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mrs Fatima Mede, said it was necessary to suspend the distribution, as the number of supply by the contractor was yet to be ascertained and might be below the expected number of Clean Cook Stoves to be supplied.
In November 2014, the Federal Executive Council approved the sum of 9.2 billion Naira for the procurement of 750,000 stoves and 18,000 Wonder Bags to be distributed free to rural women.
That announcement was greeted with mixed reactions.
Many people accepted the good news to deliver a safer environment and perhaps jobs to the teeming jobless Nigerians, but controversy began when the former Minister of Environment said only States Governors’ wives would be responsible for the distribution in different states.
The statement left speculations of how less transparent the process might become. Then there were further speculations that the actual contract appeared to have loopholes, something that the co-founder of Follow the Money, Hamzat Lawal, emphasised.
The entire project is taking a different turn days after the ministry voiced plan to terminate the contract, with the contractor, Clinton Biragbara, who spoke off camera, insisting that the project could not be terminated.
The laudable project has continued to swing unsteadily in the last months and the government has, however, been advised to straighten every grey area to adequately address the huge challenge that lies in the sector.