A Family Planning advocate, Mr Akin Jimoh, says Nigeria population will continue to increase, if its fertility rate was not addressed through adoption of family planning.
Jimoh, a Programme Director, Development Communications Network (DEVCOMS), an NGO, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos.
He was reacting to the National Population Commission (NPC)’s estimation of the nation’s population at 198 million.
NAN reports that the NPC Chairman, Mr Eze Duruiheoma, had on April 12 made the estimation known at the 51st session of the Commission on Population and Development held in New York.
Duruiheoma spoke while delivering Nigeria’s statement on sustainable cities, human mobility and international migration.
Jimoh said, “In 2015, our total fertility rate was about 5.6 per cent in 2016 and 5.46 per cent in 2017; when you look at issues that has to do with fertility rate, our women are still bearing children.
“If women are still bearing children, it is also an indication that our population will still continue to grow.
“You also have to realise that there are a lot of factors that determine how many children a woman will have including cultural, social and lack of knowledge at times.
“There are women who have 11 children, those who will not even stop having children at 35 years old.
“They still bear children till 40 years old and we lose many of them due to complications of pregnancy.
“These are major challenges; unless we address them, adopt family planning, become more diligent in anything we do, the population will continue to increase.“
The DEVCOM programme director said that increase in the population did not correspond with the development indicators including maternal and child health and quality of life of Nigerians.
According to him, the maternal and child mortality rates are still very high and the literacy level of the population is low.
“When you look at all these things cumulatively, you may say we have the number, but what is the quality of life for an average Nigerian?
“You look at the youth population, it is very huge and if we have a youth population that is not constructively engaged, then there is a problem.
“We have a huge population, but are we productive? We really need to look at these challenges and address them as a matter of urgency,“ he said.
Jimoh said that addressing challenges facing the increase in population would require the government, individuals and private organisations to play their roles.
He also said that mentoring young people, teaching them about their sexuality and how many children they planned to have would go a long way to solving the challenges.
“Mentoring is very necessary, so that we can turn this huge raw energy into a productive population.
“We also have to look at array of innovations; every institution should have a culture of development to achieve stability.
“We have to do everything possible to ensure that Nigeria remains relevant to its citizens in Africa and the world at large,“ DEVCOM director said.