YAKUBU Aliu, Programme Analyst, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) says Nigeria needs a productive population and not just a large number of people.
Aliu said this at a programme to commemorate the 2019 World Population Day (WPD) on Thursday in Calabar.
The WPD is an annual event observed on July 11 and seeks to raise awareness of global population issues.
He said population was not about counting the number of citizens in a country but ensuring that the number of the citizens counted was productive.
According to him, Nigeria has a youthful population with a large number of young persons that are still depending on the fewer working class citizens in the country.
Aliu said that the situation had given rise to a high dependency ratio in Nigeria.
The UNFPA official said to get a quality population and not just population control, women need to be educated and allowed to make choices for their lives and reproductive health.
He said that this was necessary so they could decide to have fewer children and effectively use contraceptives.
Aliu said it was UNFPA’s vision to ensure that by 2030, every woman has access to family planning and address unmet needs, zero preventable maternal deaths and zero gender based violence including female genital mutilation.
“We know that scientifically, no matter how developed a country is 15 per cent of its pregnant mothers would require medical attention for complications like haemorrhage, eclampsia, long obstructed labour, infections or complicated abortion.
“It is the women that give birth to the population and we know that given birth too early, too late, too frequent or too many contribute to maternal mortality.
“It is sad that Nigeria is a very religious country that has citizens that prefer to pray instead of doing the right thing.
“So, many women prefer to go to prayer houses to deliver which contributes to complications,” he said.
Aliu added that for Nigeria to meet up with the 2030 target of UNFPA, it must put up deliberate policies to reap demographic dividends.
The UNFPA official said the government needs to ensure that it reduces the dependency ratio by having more working class citizens than dependent citizens.
“So, first, you have to ensure reproductive health and fewer children who will be able to have better education, health, economic prosperity, gainful employment and good governance.
“As the population reduces, the quality of the population improves, you have less dependants, more productive population, improved life expectancy and economic prosperity,” the UNFPA official said.
Similarly, the State Coordinator of the National Population Commission (NPopPC), Mr Billy Eteng, said if Nigeria did the right thing, it would not have the problem of over population in the future.
Eteng said it was important to empower the women because they were important members of the work force.
“If we continue getting them pregnant without education and empowerment, we would not be helping ourselves.
“Nigerians must engage in family planning as it does not make sense anymore to have a large family that you cannot cater for; the men should support the women in this drive,” he said. (NAN)
– July 11, 2019 @ 18:19 GMT |