Family Planning, Birth Control And The Raging Controversy

September 24, 2012 • Family Planning, Nigeria, News

The following story was published on the website of the Nigerian newspaper, THISDAY. THISDAY claims to be the preferred newspaper among the business, political and diplomatic elite of Nigeria, appealing to both young and old because of its straightforward news reporting, strong editorial content, lifestyle features and business coverage.

Family Planning, Birth Control And The Raging Controversy


With a growing population tipping towards 200 million people in 2015, experts are beginning to express fears about the capacity of Nigeria in managing such population amid poverty and burden of healthcare.This has prompted the Federal  Government to subtly suggest birth control for its citizens with serious backlash and dichotomy between proponents and opponents.

By Paul Obi
Is population Nigeria’s biggest problem? Whatever answer that is likely to come out, fears are being expressed concerning Nigeria’s rising population. From a little number of 55 million people in the 1950s, before independence, Nigeria’s population grew astronomically to about 88 million in the 1990s. Today, that figure is pecked around 167 million people. Observers believed that high population will ever remain an impediment to her development until something is done about it. In the 1990s, the Ibrahim Babaginda military government even attempted compulsory family planning for Nigerians. A policy that was greeted by strong opposition and criticisms.
In the real sense, population issues are mostly politicised in the country. Census figures to a large extend determines the revenue sharing formula among the three tiers of government. It also forms the basis upon which states and local governments are created, including the delimitation of constituencies for elections and legislative purposes. And with a federal system that is more of distributive or somehow called by critics as ‘feeding-bottle’ federalism as opposed to fiscal federalism, population figures are critical if not controversial.
Aside the political undertone of population, a high population carries with it many burdens that may even over power the state in handling. An increased population for Nigeria will also over stretch services and infrastructure. In all the challenges that come with high population density, poor healthcare remains the biggest headache. In the long run, it may lead to total collapsed of the social system. These are the fears being expressed by the government, prompting government officials to conceived the idea of family planning again. The idea was first muted in far away Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where Minister of State for Health, Dr. Muhammed Pate hinted that the Federal Government was considering adopting family planning and birth control as measure to check the growing population.

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