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NIGERIA’s population quadrupled from 45.2 million in 1960 to 221.39 million in 2020, the Chairman, Association for the Advancement of Family Planning (AAFP), Dr. Ejike Oji, has said.
Addressing journalists at a media round table preceding the 6th Nigeria Family Planning Conference 2020 in Abuja recently, Oji said while the UK maintained 15 million leap in its population within the period, moving from 52.2 to 67.3, Nigeria’s grew by 176 million.
It thus implies that the UK has had an average of 250,000 annual population growth, while Nigeria’s jumped by nearly three million yearly.
Currently, the world’s 7th most populous country, Nigeria is projected by the United Nations to have over 400 million people by 2050; overtaking the US.
The current sharp rise in Africa’s most populous country has been attributed to many factors, including a high fertility rate and poor family planning.
Parading some of the worst health indices, highest maternal, child morbidity rate in the world, the country’s population appears to have been a burden, rather than a blessing in the past years, Oji said.
In his presentation titled: “Population Growth and the Challenges of Human Capital Development: Challenges and Opportunities, Oji decried poor governance, rising crimes, unemployment, corruption, poor health, education and other social amenities that have denied the nation of enjoying demographic dividends.
He cited the End-SARS protest that left in its trail deaths and destruction, including a high rate of crime, unemployment, overstretched infrastructures and other vices in the country as some of the ills arising from the nation’s largely unproductive population.
Quoting the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS), World Bank, Trading Economics and the UK Office for National Statistic (ONS), World Bank, Trading Economics, he said UK’s per capita income in 1960, was 1396.5948, and Nigeria had $1746.99.
Nigeria currently has a per capita income of $1,746.99 and the UK had 42,300.2671 USD in 2019. The unemployment rate in Nigeria in 1960, according to him, was 2%. It skyrocketed to 27% in 2020.
The FP2020 Focal Person for Civil Society Organization said in 1960, the UK had an unemployment rate of 1.7 percent, rising significantly to 4.1% in 2020, but at a much lower level than Nigeria’s.
The medical expert also revealed, against the much-touted 17 percent modern contraceptive rate (CPR) in Nigeria, that the nation’s official figure is 12%.
Nigeria had vowed at the 2012 London summit to achieve 27 percent modern contraceptive rate by the end of 2020.
He urged government and development partners to invest more in family planning to enable the nation to enjoy demographic dividends.
He also appealed to all people of reproductive age to embrace family planning.
In her presentation titled “The Future of Family Planning in Nigeria: Leading With Advocacy and Demand,” Portfolio Director, John Hopkins Centre for Communications Programme (JHUCCP) Nigeria, Dr. Mojisola Odeku called for Interventions that engage key decision-makers and influential leaders as change agents for shaping norms and creating a supportive environment for increasing contraceptive uptake in Nigeria.
She also advised that a huge investment be made in evidence-based advocacy and demand generation to improve the modern contraceptive prevalence rate and overall quality of life in the country.
The 6th Nigeria Family Planning Conference 2020, which holds next week, will draw experts from Nigeria and the diaspora.