NIGERIA’S POPULATION GROWTH | What next?

Heard Nigeria’s population have hit 201 million and keeps increasing at a growth rate of 2.60% which is one of the highest rates in the world. With a surface area of 923,768 km² and so many places yet to be developed, this may have serious effects in the urban cities where many people are moving into for greener pasture. Nigeria is the 7th most populated country in the whole world. It is not terrifying though if we consider the surface area of Nigeria and that of others. For instance, Bangladesh has a population of 168,065,920 with 147,570 km² surface area and is listed as the 8th most populated country in the world.

But the growth rate of 2.60% is what we should be concerned about. Maybe, we have to be very strict on polygamy and also encourage adoption of babies making it easy and yet safe for babies to be adopted by qualified individuals. When we talk about Polygamy, the population of Muslims is very high and Polygamy isn’t frowned upon in Islam. We also need to educate our citizens, especially in the rural areas that having lots of children is not the real deal but having the number of children we can take care of and give a better life. Although many people are still to come to terms with adopting a baby they don’t know how he or she came about, it should be encouraged.

In many parts of Africa, it is usually believed that having many children means having many sources of income in the future in the sense that the children will grow to start feeding their parents. But the ideal design was that parents will raise their children and even leave an inheritance for them. Because of what Parents expect to get from their kids in the future, they tend to give birth to so many children and even fail taking good care of them.

Another factor fuelling the population growth is the search for male children! Africa is evolving but there are still so many cultural and perception hindrances. While many parts of the world are beginning to accept that the female child is as valuable as the male child, many Africans and of course Asians are still of the belief that male children are the real children. With the desire to keep the family name running, a family would have nine female children and continue to make babies just because they want a male child. For some, it happens vice versa though.

Population growth is seriously slowing down in some parts of the world but in Africa, it is rapidly growing and the reasons have been so underestimated. In 1980, Africa had only a population of 477 million but today, Nigeria alone has a population of 201 million while Africa has a total population of 1.2 billion. Comparing this population to the surface area of Africa, it is very alarming. It is projected that by 2050, Nigeria will add to the global population more than any other country including China.

Our concerns with this population increase aren’t just about the increase of people but the poverty rate of the country and how population increase is greatly affecting the economy. For example, in the Niger Republic, the GDP per capita is less than $1 per day and a woman is likely to have more than seven children. This makes us expect 800,000 and more added every twelve months in the country.

Increase in population also means we must increase the reconstruction of infrastructures, reviving the educational sector to be able to handle more and more addition of students. The power sector, for instance, will have to keep increasing the amount of power offered Nigerians since more people means more need for power.

In Nigeria, a country with a very high rate of unemployment, about 500,000 students graduate every year from the higher institutions, not counting those who graduate from schools outside Nigeria and come back to Nigeria to work. Being a consuming country rather than a producing country, the population growth is posing a very big challenge for the country even though it has been underestimated in the past. More than half of those graduates cannot find a job.

In 2014, the former minister of finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala reported that 1.8 million Nigerians enter the job market every year. Increase in population is not very bad if the government and the systems put in place has been programmed to combat every issue that would rise as a result. When babies are not well trained, they grow to become cultists, armed robbers, kidnappers and so on! Population increase also means the increase in crime if not properly managed.

You don’t ask couples not to have children but we can encourage people to have just a number of children they can take care of. We can discourage polygamy and encourage adoption in the case of infertility. The government should create more jobs and ensure old people are retired both from politics and civil services! Population growth is to our advantage if Nigeria has been structured to deal with the challenges associated with it. Population growth causes more demand for products and as more demands are made, job opportunities are created. More people means more creativity!

However, the growth of population can also cause property and food shortage especially in countries like Nigeria where the government had made no plans for the growth of population. There is an increase in people with a lack of basic life support and so many girls don’t have access to the menstrual pad because of poverty. When properly managed, population growth can grow the economy and when not managed, population growth is a threat to the economy.

How do we manage this? Let’s hear from you on the comment section.

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