We’re Here “to create a better environment”: Nigerian Archbishop at Launch of Charcoal Briquette Production Initiative

A poster announcing the launch of a charcoal briquette making factory in Nigeria’s Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja. Credit: Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja

The launching of a charcoal briquette making factory in Nigeria’s Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja continues initiatives aimed to realize “a better environment” in line with the recommendations of Pope Francis’ 2015 Encyclical Letter “on care for our common home”, Laudato Si’, the Local Ordinary has said.

In an interview with ACI Africa on the sidelines of the April 11 event that was held at Our Lady of Fatima Kwali Parish of his Metropolitan See, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama said, “Today we are here again like we did last year with planting of trees. This was also to create a better environment. Today it is the briquettes, the charcoal that is made specially to facilitate cooking in households and limits the emission level into the environment.”

“It is the implementation of Laudato Si' that has led us to this event today. It's not just about talking. The Holy Father is concerned about the environment that is deteriorating and we can adjust some lifestyles that will help to remedy the deterioration,” Archbishop Kaigama said about the initiative of the Justice Department and Peace Caritas Initiative (JDPCI) of his Metropolitan See in Kwali Area Council of Abuja.

The charcoal briquette production initiative is also an “attempt to ensure that our people, especially the rural dwellers, get help and support in the midst of such harsh economic hardships”, he said about the factory with the capability to produce 2,000 briquettes per day.

The Nigerian Catholic Archbishop went on to advocate for positive environmental practice, and added, “People think that if you don't do big things, it doesn't impact on the environment. Do little. Everybody, stop throwing that plastic bag you have where you've eaten your bread. Throw it in the trash bin, not just anyhow.”


Also speaking to ACI Africa on the sidelines of the April 11 launch, JDPCI Chairman said that the charcoal briquette initiative aims to address the challenge of climate which, which he described as “very serious.”

“Climate change is born out of deforestation and all the activities of man that tend to degrade our environment,” Sir. Josephat Abaagu said, and added, “You will recall that last year we planted a lot of trees, up to ten thousand trees. JDPCI is very interested in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

The JDPCI Chairman went on to underscore the need for “people to leave the trees alone so that they can get customized with the use of briquette”.

“Briquettes are gotten from all kinds of waste products which are carbonized,” he further said, adding that charcoal briquettes are “safe for the environment” and that they take long “to burn out unlike the firewood or charcoal.”

“The smoke which accompanies the use of firewood also comes with respiratory problems in humans,” he told ACI Africa, emphasizing the advantages of charcoal briquettes.

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In his address during the April 11 event, JDPCI Director of Programs, Timothy Ejeh, described the charcoal briquette production initiative as “timely” amid increased deforestation in Nigeria.

Timothy underscored the need to develop “other sources of energy so that energy supply will be available, sustainable, and affordable for the average Nigerian.”

“This project focuses on the production of wickets from bio-waste materials such as dried grasses, old newspapers, sawdust, rice husks. The Materials basically comprise biomass waste, which are largely combustible materials made from loose or low-density waste, but compressed together into a solid form, largely used as fuel instead of the traditional charcoal firewood,” he explained.

The JDPCI official said they expect a 65% reduction in the use of conventional charcoal, kerosene, and gas as household fuel for indigent women in the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja.

Abah Anthony John contributed to the writing of this story


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