Over population: Embrace smaller family to avoid poverty, CISLAC, TI – tell Nigerians

Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)/Transparenacy International in Nigeria (TI-Nigeria), have called Nigerians to begin to embrace the idea of smaller family to avoid ravaging poverty, youth unemployment, child mortality and other socio-economic upheavals.

The Executive Director of CISLAC and Head of TI-Nigeria, Auwal Musa Rasfanjani stated this at the Nigeria Population Conversation Seminar organised by CISLAC) and TI-Nigeria.

He said the seminar was necessitated by the need to engender people-oriented participation and harvest perception on population to shape policy direction for well-informed national planning to achieve the overall demographic advantage for sustainable development.

He said more importantly, wide gap has been observed in population literacy at individual levels; and this poses further challenges to demographic accountability, as the main stakeholders in Nigeria Population Conversation.

He further said the active participation by Nigerians across the six geo-political zones in the Population Perception Survey report that will be launched here today is a clear indication of citizens’ readiness for constructive conversation on population and its impacts on their well-being as well as living standards.

“We cannot conceal the fact that with the current inadequate awareness on consequences of population at citizenry and policy levels as well as the unattended impact on national planning, Nigeria has not efficiently harnessed its population to achieve development goals.

“This fact has been buttressed by multiplier effects of youth unemployment, insecurity, inaccessible healthcare services, food insecurity, education inequality and other challenges that undermine socio-economic development of Nigeria.

“Regrettably, Nigeria is among the top five countries in the world with the highest under-five mortality rates. In addition to the general leading causes of under-five mortality, studies have highlighted the survival probabilities, the impact of socio-economic, demographic and environmental factors as major threats to the survival of under-five mortality in Nigeria.

“While a significant function of girl child education in Nigeria is to provide her with diverse basic knowledge, skills, and training which contribute to personal development and the overall national development, more than 50% of girls are not attending school at the basic education level, while 1 million girls drop out between the first and last year of primary school (UNICEF).

“In addition, Nigeria accounts for 20% of all out-of-school children in sub-Saharan Africa, with nearly 20 million out-of-school children (Malala Fund).
Likewise, in Nigeria, about 53.40% of youths are unemployed according to youth unemployment rates released by the National Bureau of Statistics in 2022.

” This again exposes our country to most of the social crimes perpetuated by youths including the accelerated level of prostitution, armed robbery, rape and all facets of violence can be largely attributed to the incidence of unemployment of youths,” he said.

According to him, this without doubt will serve as a baseline for further conversation on population at all levels in Nigeria and beyond.

He said the fact-findings from the report would be leveraged by relevant state and non-state actors in amplifying conversation on population, while shaping policy decision and direction towards inclusive planning and development in Nigeria.

On the Human Population and the Environment Director NEXUS, Member of Advisory Board , Population Matters, Dr Edu Effiom said Population Action International agrees with Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) that Human population size, growth, density and migration are underlying causes of biodiversity loss.

She said underlying because these indices trigger the drivers of habitat (land, water bodies) degradation and ultimately loss.

She said according to Population Action International Global population is projected to grow to between 8 billion and 11 billion by the middle of the century, with much of the growth expected to take place in the humid tropics (one of the key reason being high fertility rate).

“Nigeria is the most populated in Africa with an annual population growth of 2.7%.
Should we be worried, yes, this has consequences on everything especially ecosystem, why?rapid population growth is in the humid tropics that har the planet’s richest forms of biodiversity.

“Increased demand for goods and se to meet the needs of a growing population will undoubtedly exert more pre on the components of environment- biodiversity, ecosystems, climate,’ she said .