…As Nigeria is set to become the world’s third populous country by 2050
By Elizabeth Uwandu
As part of efforts to mark the 2019 World Population Day, experts who brainstormed on how to control Nigeria’s population, have said that child-child education, family planning, implementable government policies among others will go a long way in addressing overpopulation.
At the event tagged, “ Population and sustainability, “organized by the Nigerian Conservative Foundation, NCF, in partnership with Population Matters, a UK-based charity organisation supported by the Lagos State government, it was revealed based on statistics by the United Nations, UN, that Nigeria may overtake the US as the world’s third most populous country come 2050.
Part of the UN reports read, “By 2050 the global population will be 9.7bn and Nigeria’s population will rise above 400m. By the middle of the century, Nigeria will overtake the US as the world’s third most populous country. These figures are the UN’s main, medium variant, projections. With 95% certainty, it projects a global population in the range between 9.4 and 10.1 billion in 2050, and between 9.4 and 12.7 billion in 2100 (with a medium projection of 10.9bn).
However, if global fertility rates differ by half-a-child per woman than the medium projection, the global population will be significantly different. With half-a-child less, there would be 8.9 bn by 2050 and decline to 7.3 bn people by 2100 – a smaller population than today. Conversely, with half-a-child more than the median projection, there would be 10.6 bn by 2050 and as many as 15.6 bn by 2100. The future population is thus extremely dependent on the actions taken to address fertility and these projections should not be taken as predictions.
The Director-General, NCF, Mr. Muhtar Amino-Kano, who spoke on the theme, “Population growth and environmental sustainability’, lamented that Nigeria whose population is close to 200 billion was putting a lot of pressure on the limited resources that have hampered the environment.
Amino-Kano explained that “The more people depend on a particular resource and exploit it without proper management, the more the environment gets impacted on. For Nigeria, we have gotten to that stage where the 200 million of us living in it are putting too much pressure on our land, on our water, on our wide life on our atmosphere among other things. We therefore, need to have a process of managing our environment, so that we can live in harmony with nature. “
He added that having a sustainable environment involves stakeholders, especially the government taking three proactive steps.
His words, “Three things I will suggest we all do especially in tackling overpopulation in relation to the environment are; the education of the girl child. It has been shown that the more educated females are, the more the latter they marry, and the lesser children that they have in their lifetime. Number two is bringing the benefits of democracy to people. While the third one is family planning. Whether we like it or not, we cannot just fire rapidly and expects God to take care of the result.”
Director, Population Matters, UK, Robin Maynard, who spoke on “Overpopulation in the developed world and a global approach,” said that number should not be an issue in addressing population, rather emphasis should be on the need to create awareness of the human actions and inactions on the environment.
According to him, “Population control needs to be seriously talked about. The population control is about choice and rights of the people. We need to raise awareness about it. There should be discussions too and think about it. The policy of control was introduced in some countries; which worked for some time but later died. But if you force people to do things, it might not work. Awareness is the key through education and empowerment.” He said.
On his part, Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Environment, Mr. Abiodun Bamgboye, added that in addition to creating awareness, educating the girl-child among others; social-political management and technical management needed to be put in place to achieve a sustainable environment.
According to him, “Socio-Political management is one of the solutions we need to apply. This comes in terms of decentralization of industrialization, adequate security, cultural renaissance and attitudinal change, rural infrastructural development, and employment.
“The second solution is technical management which requires a review of state law on environment management, protection of habitats, waste management, green planting and nurturing among others,” he noted.
Bamgboye who noted that Lagos state accounted for 70% of Nigeria total industrial investment and an annual growth rate of Lagos is 3.4%, explained that the state was poised to preserving the two remaining wetlands out of over thirty numbers lost in the state.
“Over thirty numbers of wetlands of various sizes were lost across the state. We are left with two in its original nature. Our responsibility now is to protect it. Nothing must happen to the lives of the remaining two wetlands.” He said.