World Population Day: Nigeria’s Population in Focus
Sheriff Quadri, sole host on the Morning Crossfire started the show by stating the following: July 11th of every year is devoted to World Population matters. The United Nations Organization said that the overall population of Nigeria will reach about 398 million by 2050. By the year 2100, if current figures and conditions continue, the population of Nigeria will hit 748 million people. According to the Census Bureau of the United States, the population of Nigeria will reach 402 million by 2050. With those numbers, Nigeria will become the third most populated country in the world, surpassing countries such as the United States in the near future.
Today, Nigeria is world’s sixth largest country in terms of population and also the country is one of the fastest growing nations in the world. The effect of over-population is really evident. Lagos is already one of the most populated cities in the world with about 21 million people. This is due to the effect of rural urban migration. Some of the issues of under-development still plague Lagos, such as bad roads, growing unemployment figures, lack of basic social amenities, high crime rates, security issues, and more.
These are just some of the economic fallouts of the over population in Lagos. Since many people live in slums and government has few resources to conduct adequate census, the real population figure of Lagos State is unknown. Most residents in Lagos live in severely over-crowded slums. The situation in the state is really dire.
Social Commentator, Achike Chude, who joined the show spoke briefly about the importance of conducting population census in a nation. In his opening remarks, he gave further details about two words: National Planning. “You need to have an idea of the resources available; you need to have an idea on what to spend the resources on. The essence of providing governance is to provide a better life for the people. Government needs to be in a position to break down the number of people into the segments, the number of children, teenagers, number of children been born, the number of old people, etc, so that at every level government can enact policies that would apply to this segment of the population. If the government doesn’t know the number of population that they are going to cater to, that can’t be done. So if there’s no national population census, a country will face dire consequences.”
Chartered Accountant and Economic Analyst, Gbolahan Olojede also spoke about the effects of population growth in Nigeria. The issue does not look good at all, judging by the response of Gbolahan. “It’s a near-disaster issue. Sometimes when those numbers are thrown out there that, we have this much unemployment, or all those negative numbers that you see, when you drill down, you begin to see what role unemployment has in all of these.”
Taking the matter further, he said that Nigeria is currently growing at about 2.6 percent for the population but our GDP is growing at just two percent. That is a gap. So, said Chude, “We are going to be having more people sleeping in poverty because the economy is growing at a slower rate than the population is growing.”
But how can Nigeria utilize its population to its advantage?
Gbolahan said that Nigeria has no control on population issues. It is not just about birth rates. Incursion is also a big problem. “When the Lake Chad dried up, there were lots of incursion into Nigeria. As people left Mali, Niger, and Mauritania, they came into Nigeria and I’m not sure how much of that we were capturing in determining this population.”
“As Chude said, if we can muster the resources, we can step on the population issues we have right now. First, we need to have a discussion around that population size to determine how we are going to curb it before it runs totally loose. To curb the issue, we must educate the masses as they must know the implication of what they do, and how population could impoverish us. Secondly, we must go back to those policies about family planning and help families to adopt options when it comes to family planning.”
Follow the conversation by watching it HERE.
#MorningCrossfire with @SheriffQuadry
Guests: Chartered Accountant and Economic Analyst, Gbolahan Olojede / Social Commentator, Achike Chude
Written by Jude Chukwuemeka