Nigerians have a deep affection for their cuisine, whether it’s fried potato and plantain for breakfast, jollof rice for lunch, or tuwo (rice balls) for supper – often cooked on gas stoves.
However, with the increasing price of gas, cooks are turning to charcoal, derived from burning firewood.
A 3kg cylinder of gas, the smallest available, now costs around $3 (£2.70), nearly double its price from last year, making it unaffordable for many middle-income earners.
Habiba Abubakar, who operates an online business selling cooking equipment, notes a rising demand for charcoal-fueled stoves.
However, this shift raises health concerns.
Dr. Kwaifa Salihu, a consultant physician in Abuja, warns that charcoal users are more susceptible to respiratory illnesses like asthma. Using charcoal stoves indoors can be life-threatening due to carbon monoxide emissions, he adds.
Furthermore, the environmental impact of tree-felling for charcoal production exacerbates concerns. Authorities have struggled to enforce a ban on illegal logging, a critical issue as parts of northern Nigeria battle desertification.