Chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC), Chief Eze Duruiheoma SAN, has disclosed that the adolescent population figure of young Nigerians aged between 10 and 24 years has risen from 44.4 million or 33.1 per cent of the total population in 2006 census to 60.4 million this year.
The NPC chairman disclosed this in Akure, the Ondo State capital, at a press conference marking this year's World Population Day. Duruiheoma, whose speech was read by the Commissioner representing Ondo at the Commission, Dr. Oluremi Akinbobola, revealed that by 2020, when the country's population estimates would be 221.3 million, the figure of youth population would have reached the 73.1 million mark. While harping on the theme of this year's celebration which is 'Investing in Young People' the NPC boss said it was time that all concerned stakeholders should ensure safe, successful and healthy passage from adolescence into adulthood which is the right of every child.
He said the task can be fulfilled if families and societies make sustained investments and generally provide opportunities aimed at ensuring that adolescents and youths progressively develop the knowledge, skills, resilience needed for a healthy, productive and fulfilling life. "Adolescents and youths are central to the development agenda. Safeguarding their rights and investing in their future by providing quality education, decent employment, effective livelihood skills, access to Sexual Reproductive Health and comprehensive sexuality education which emphasises gender and power, are essential to their development and that of their families, communities and countries", he said.
Duruiheoma also advocated the creation of awareness among all the stakeholders on the need to invest in young people, which he said requires attitudinal change and value orientation. In order to generate awareness, the NPC boss said focus should include partnering the young population, launching of social media campaign, focusing attention on key issues and encouraging mentoring to prepare the young for adulthood.