Nigeria, as a large developing country has a considerably high energy requirement for cooking and the choices includes: kerosene, electricity, charcoal and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) among other derivatives. The country’s current gas reserves is on the rise with total estimation of 202 trillion cubic feet (tcf), coupled with recent move by the Federal Government to ensure that 13.8 million households adopt LPG for cooking in the next five years.
However, LPG is another common alternative to cooking in many homes in Nigeria and it is the cheapest energy source good and convenient, but dangerous if mishandled. It has in recent times becomes a threat to life and stakeholders see it as a worrisome development.
Meanwhile, there is a safer way of handling LPG cylinders to curb accident as well as reduce death rate resulting from improper use.
It is discovered that about 35% of Nigerians rely solely on LPG as an alternative source of energy for cooking. Despite being the cheapest clean and easiest energy source, recent findings have shown that about 1.3 million Nigerians lost their lives to LPG related issues as a result of improper management of cylinders and burners.
Recently, a video went viral on social media platforms where two persons narrowly escaped one of such kitchen gas explosions.
According to Muinat Bello Zagi, a Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) official, “We have observed over time that the way and manner some people use LPG is not in consonance with what we have stipulated. So, it is good to create awareness and sensitize the public.”
Apart from improper handling of LPG, another challenge identified, is that of imported cylinders failing to meet safety requirements or approved by regulatory agencies, DPR and Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON).
Zagi stated thus, “Incase of leakage what we advise is that if the person can put off the valve, if the person has a fire extinguisher, it should try to use it, if he or she knows how to use the fire extinguisher, he or she should try to use it or what is known as fire blanket. And if individuals do not know how to make use of these gadgets have mentioned, is better they quickly call the fire service or they inform DPR and we know what to do.”
The end users are also advised to check the hose, valve, cylinder and burner and not to be obsessed about cooking. They have to be conscious of their cylinders. Some LPG users do not know if there is leakage in the cylinders. On the 6kg camping cylinders, there is need to check if the head is tight as some users carry cylinders from the top, but it has to be carried from the body. It is advisable for users to tighten the burners and observe any looming danger since gas gives signs through sound.
For adequate safety of end users, LPG must be stored in a safe location with regards to relevant codes of practice. Users must be sensitized to be more safety conscious while handling LPG to avoid loss of lives.
In a related development on energy and power, an agency is considering 100% production of solar sales from locally produced raw materials. The raw materials are available in the country only the equipment to do it requires funding and if it has been done, the country can attain self-energy delivery. The entire world is going solar. The Federal Government hopes to achieve target of 100% production of solar panel to ensure that other alternative means are used to generate energy in the country. The solar power plants are to enhance electricity generation in Nigeria.