Population boom: Stakeholders preach proper planning, good governance
DETERMINING Nigeria’s exact population has always been controversial. Since independence from Britain in 1960, Nigerians have never fully agreed amongst themselves on just how many they really are, or which region of the country has the highest or lowest numbers. On the side, there have also been needless ethnic and religious dimensions to the matter, often exploited by politicians for winning elections and appropriating resources.
However, genuine worries are now being expressed over the future implications of the rapidly increasing population of the world’s most populous black nation. There are fears that unless the federal government regulates the country’s population in a decisive way, Nigeria may become chronically over populated by 2040, less than 30 years away. Although, Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus predicted a long time ago that the world’s population runs the risk of overtaking its resources, the postulation may sooner than later stare Nigeria in the face, if nothing is done in the long term.
According to a survey – Resources for the Awareness of Population Impacts on Development (RAPID) – presented at the last National Family Planning Conference held in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, in 1963, both Nigeria and Britain had the same population size of 56 million. By 2011 however, Nigeria’s population stood at 167 million and Britain’s, 62 million. Between 1963 and 2011 (48 years), Nigeria’s population tripled and with sustained fertility of 5.7 and the growth rate of three per cent, its population could double in less than 24 years.
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