The National Population Commission (NPC) has called on the federal government, religious and cultural leaders, citizens and all stakeholders to commit more in harnessing opportunities in human capital by establishing resilience in curbing rapid population growth through family planning services across the nation.
Chairman of the Commission Hon. Nasir Isa-Kwarra, stated this Thursday in Abuja to commemorate the 2022 World Population Day, held with the theme: “A World of Eight Billion: Towards a Resilient Future – Harnessing Opportunities and Ensuring Rights and Choices for All.
Isa-Kwara noted that Nigeria’s population is currently projected at 216 million, saying that if this numbers is aptly harnessed could transform the development landscape of nation.
“Societies that invest in their people, in their rights and choices, have proven that such investments creates the road to enduring peace and prosperity that everyone desires and deserves, ” he said.
According to him, the current youthful age structure holds the momentum that will drive a sustained increase in population growth, stressing the need for attention on quality and sustained investments in health care.
“The situation calls for attention on providing quality and sustained investments in healthcare, particularly in family planning of women and adolescents, transformative and relevant education for growing numbers of children and young people – that fits into current and future jobs requirements, housing and decent employment/jobs across successive administrations and governance.
“Nigeria is among the eight countries globally sustaining the world population growth and leading in Africa. Current projections at 216 million people, who represent 216 million opportunities; if aptly harnessed, could transform the development landscape of our nation.
“The people’s age 13 structure favours the young people (those below the age of 30 years) who make up over 70 percent of our population,” he added.
In her remarks, the United Nations Population Fund Resident Representative, Ulla Mueller, said that African nations are relying on Nigeria to assist in achieving the Sustainable and Development Goals, SDGs, 2030, for the continent.
She said, “As you may be aware, Nigeria’s population is currently increasing at a rate of 3.2 percent annually and it is projected at 216 million in 2022 and may reach 400 million by 2050, making it the world’s most populated nation.
“This rapid population increase implies that Africa and global attempts to achieve the SDGs rely heavily on Nigeria’s development. So my Nigerian compatriots, you have a huge responsibility to lead the African region.”
Speaking, Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said Nigeria must regulate its fertility rate to achieve sustainable development.
Represented by the Director Family Health, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Salma Anas, said, “We must regulate fertility, without fertility regulation we are going nowhere. This is actually the key to unlock the success of sustainable development in Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Health has positioned itself to fulfill this purpose.”
In her goodwill message the Country Director, Pathfinder International, Dr Amina Aminu Dorayi, said fertility rate in Nigeria is 5.3 and estimated at 400 million in 2050, stressing the need for women, girls and families to be protected and their rights upheld to enable the fulfillment of roles and planning for future investments..