Experts Warn as Nigeria’s Population Explosion Hits 216 Million

Experts Warn as Nigeria’s Population Explosion Hits 216 Million (News Central TV)

Experts have expressed concerns over Nigeria’s population explosion with the country moving from 10th most populous country in 1990 with 94 million people to become the 6th most populous nation in 2020 with the numbers projected at 216 million people by December 2022.

Experts say there is a need for the government and all stakeholders to take urgent measures to address the situation, adding that the current population growth rate has dire consequences if not addressed as quickly as possible.

In its 2022 World Population Prospects released on Monday, the United Nations projected the global population to reach 8 billion by November 15, 2022, with China maintaining its lead.

India is expected to surpass China as the world’s most populous country in 2050, the annual report prepared by the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs stated.

The report, which was released in commemoration of World Population Day shows Nigeria also moved six steps upwards and projected to become the 4th most populous with a 375m population by 2050.

Dr Aminu Magashi Garba, Coordinator Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN)

The report says Nigeria, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Pakistan, and Philippines will account for more than half of the global population in 2050.

While stating that its latest projections suggest that the world’s population could grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030 and 9.7 billion in 2050, it said countries of sub-Saharan Africa were expected to contribute more than half of the figure to become the world’s most populated sub region. 

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The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres was quoted to have said: “This year’s World Population Day falls during a milestone year when we anticipate the birth of the earth’s eight billionth inhabitant.”

While saying that the global population is growing at its slowest rate since 1950, having fallen under one per cent in 2020, the World Population Prospects 2022 also states that fertility has fallen markedly in recent decades for many countries.

Professor Emmanuel Lufadeju, National Coordinator of the Rotary Action Group for Reproductive Maternal and Child Health (RMCH), has said the implications of Nigeria’s population growth rate would translate to poverty if nothing is done to address it.

He said there is also the implication of unemployment, and poor resource utilisation, adding that the overpopulation was growing more than the resources could cope with.

On the way out, Prof. Lufadeju said citizens must be educated to have only the number of children they could care for, use modern contraceptives, space the birth of their children and make sure they are able to train their children in school. 

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The report projects that the global population aged 65 years or above will rise from 10 per cent in 2022 to 16 per cent in 2050.

It advises countries with aging populations to take steps to adapt public programmes to the growing proportion of older persons, including by improving the sustainability of social security and pension systems and by establishing universal health care and long-term care systems.

Dr Aminu Magashi Garba, Coordinator Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN), warned that the country’s population would lead to food scarcity, fewer jobs, jobless youths and insecurity and hunger and poor health indices.

He said the way out is to invest in family planning to manage the population and also “Be innovative to use the ‘youth bulge’ to its advantage by keeping them engaged with productive jobs that will support economies such as Information Communication Technology (ICT) and agriculture.

He advised the federal government to redouble its efforts in its determination to achieve the Family Planning (FP) 2030 commitment.

The federal government formally launched the 2030 FP commitment in March this year, in Abuja. It is even more worrisome that 70 per cent of the over 200 million people in Nigeria were under the age of 30.

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Paul Alaje, Senior Economist, at SPM Professionals Abuja, is unexcited about the projected rise in Nigeria’s population growth.

He said that based on Nigeria’s growth pattern and parameters in the past seven years and more, Nigeria’s poverty level would rise, more with the increased population of the magnitude projected by the UN body.

According to him, what counts in a population is the productivity of the population. He cautioned that Nigeria’s economy was largely consuming and wasn’t productive enough to be viable with 375 million by 2050.

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