28 November 2012

Nigeria: High Fertility 'Chaos' for Nigeria

Nigeria's population could swell to 359 million by 2040 and cause "chaos" if it is allowed to continue expanding without careful planning, experts warned at the 2nd National Family Planning Conference on Wednesday.

The population growth is a 'worst-case' scenario projected to occur if the fertility rate in the country continues at its current 5.7%.

Experts studying the impact of population of development say it will put immense strain on resources for health, education, agriculture and the economy.

Addressing a plenary on the impact of population on development, Prof Oladapo Ladipo said dealing with such a population by 2040 "would be suicidal. It will create chaos."

He warned that compromising investment in those areas "will impact on our national security and social services."

According to projections, reducing fertility rate to just 5.2% could limit population expected by 2040 to hit 281 million.

But 20% of married women who want to plan or space their pregnancies cannot get access to the services they need.

'Youthquake' waiting for happen

If women continue having an average 5 children each, the number of school age children requiring education could exceed 33 million, instead of 20 million projected.

Resources required for primary school teachers to handle them could top N4.4 billion.

According to the estimates, Nigeria would have to import 400 million extra tonnes of rice to feed its population.

It would also need to create up to 1.5 million additional jobs. Unemployment among young people last year stood at 71%.

"We are moving toward a 'youthquake' because the children we are bringing in without planning for them are becoming the quake we are trying to avoid," said Saudatu Sanni.

"To have children without planning for them, they will turn back and spite us."

Decline in fertility rate by planned births using contraceptives could save the lives of 1.5 million children and 31,000 mothers.

It could also prevent nearly 700,000 cases of life-threatening injuries associated with childbirth complications like fistula--and in turn save N47 billion in health expenditures.

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