President Muhammadu Buhari has emphasized the urgent need to address Nigeria’s high fertility rate, insisting that the quality of life and standards of living of all Nigerians stands to suffer depreciation.
The President equally advocated that population can be controlled through expanding access to modern family planning, counselling and commodities as well as birth spacing modalities.
He said this on Thursday while launching the Revised National Policy on Population for Sustainable Development at the State House, Abuja.
He also inaugurated the National Council on Population Management (NCPM), chaired by him, and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as the deputy chairman with heads of relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as members.
”The policy emphasizes the urgency to address Nigeria’s sustained high fertility rate, through expanding access to modern family planning, counselling and commodities as well as promote births spacing.
”This will enable Nigeria to achieve rapid fertility control, improve the health of women, adolescents, newborns and children, and other population groups,’’ he said.
President Buhari noted that Nigeria’s population, which is the largest in Africa, seventh globally and among the few whose fertility is still growing, is hinged on a youthful population, with more than 72 per cent of them being below 30 years while half of the female population are in their reproductive years (15-49 years).
”These levels have implications for sustained population growth and narrowed prospects to achieving population management, facilitating sufficient demographic transition, harnessing our demographic endowment and eventually realizing sustainable development,’’ he said.
He also explained that it underscores the importance of investing in quality education of young people (particularly girls), human capital development, advancing the holistic effort to achieve the significant demographic transition.
”The Revised Population Policy is rich with all necessary information that will guide the implementation of Nigeria’s Mid-term and Perspective Development Plan.
”It will further address concerns of the large population of young people who are our pride, our future and assets to drive our development efforts,” he stated.