…As Nigeria is set to become the world’s third populous country by 2050
By Elizabeth Uwandu
Disturbed by the explosive growth rate of Nigeria’s population, experts who gathered at a round table discussion put together by the Nigerian Conservation Foundation NCF, in partnership with Population Matters, a UK-based charity organisation, to mark year 2019 World Population Day, have said that girl-child education, family planning, implementable government policies among others will go a long way in addressing overpopulation.
At the event tagged, “Population and Sustainability”, the discussants revealed that based on statistics by the United Nations UN, Nigeria may overtake the United States of America as the world’s third most populous country by 2050.
According to the UN report, “By 2050, the global population will be 9.7 billion and the Nigerian population more than 400 million. 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 per cent 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 billion by 2050 and decline to 7.3 billon people by 2100 – a smaller population than today.
“Conversely, with half-a-child more than the median projection, there would be 10.6 billion by 2050 and as many as 15.6 billion 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”.
Speaking on “Population Growth and Environmental Sustainability”, Director-General, NCF, Muhtari Aminu-Kano, lamented that Nigeria whose population is close to 200 million was putting a lot of pressure on the limited resources that have hampered the environment.
Aminu-Kano, who disclosed that population plays a crucial role to having a sustainable environment, 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”, NCF boss stated.
The NCF helmsman added that having a sustainable environment involves stakeholders, especially the government taking three proactive steps.
According to him, “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 they are aware, 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 expect God to take care of the result”.
In his submission, Director, Population Matters, UK, Robin Maynard, who spoke on “Overpopulation in the Developed World and a Global Approach” said 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 tackled. 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”.
On his part, Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Environment, Mr. Abiodun Bamgboye, said that in addition to creating awareness, educating the girl-child among others such as social-political management and technical management should 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.