The National Population Commission (NPC) has put Nigeria's current population at 198 million people with urban population growing at an average annual growth rate of about 6.5 percent.
Chairman of NPC, Mr. Eze Duruiheoma, stated this in New York while delivering Nigeria's statement on Sustainable Cities, Human Mobility and International Migration at the 51st Session of the Commission on Population and Development.
Duruiheoma said: "Nigeria remains the most populous in Africa, the seventh globally with an estimated population of over 198 million.
"The recent World Population Prospects report predicts that by 2050, Nigeria will become the third most populated country in the world.
"Over the last 50 years, the Nigeria's urban population has grown at an average annual growth rate of more than 6.5 per cent without commensurate increase in social amenities and infrastructure.
"It grew substantially from 17.3 per cent in 1967 to 49.4 per cent of the country's total population in 2017. In addition, the 2014 World Urbanisation Prospects report, predicts that by 2050, most Nigerians - 70 per cent - will be residing in cities.
"The 2010 human mobility survey report revealed that 23 per cent of the sampled population were of more females than males."
In terms of demographics, he noted that the class of the population mostly engaged in urbanisation and migration were young people, adolescent girls and boys, women of child bearing age and the working age population.
He said existing urbanisation trends, coupled with internally displaced persons (IDPs) in cities, pose critical challenges to securing sustainability in Nigerian urban centres, including efforts to make them smart and responsive to the human influx.
"The Displacement Tracking Matrix Round XXI of January 2018 identified an estimated 1.7 million IDPs in over 321,580 households across six states of North-east Nigeria with 40 per cent residing in camp-like settings in urban areas plus 1.4 million returnees.
"The number of IDPs represented a 4.5 per cent increase compared to the 1,702,680 identified in Round XX (Dec. 2017)."
Duruiheoma said like in other developing countries, Nigerian cities host wide spread poverty, under-employment and unemployment at an average of 18.4 per cent, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) 2017 report.
The NPC boss bemoaned the insecurity in the country and inadequate and inequitable healthcare services for adolescents and women of childbearing age.
"Nigeria continues to commit to solving the challenges of insurgents in the North-east, which has induced a high number of IDPs.
"We acknowledge that women, children and particularly the girl-child are often the most vulnerable in these displacements, and in this regard, we remain focused on the wellbeing of these vulnerable parts of our population.
"We are committed to providing adequate healthcare services, reducing maternal mortality, rebuilding safe schools and empowering our women, ensuring no one is left behind in terms of achieving sustainable development," he added.
Duruiheoma acknowledged that these challenges have adversely impacted on the quality of life and standards of living of the urban populace.
According to him, Nigeria stays committed to the twin goals of the Habitat Agenda - adequate shelter for all and the development of sustainable human settlements in an urbanising world.
- Culled from NAN