British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Harriet Thompson, says Nigeria can reap from its demography with the right investments in human, physical capital and family planning,
Thompson made this known at an event to mark the the World Population Day which held at the British High Commission in Abuja on Monday.
NAN reports that the UN set aside July 11 every year, to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues.
“ As you all will be aware, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa with a growing population.
“ By 2030, estimates indicate that Nigeria will have 115 million people under the age of 15 and be the third most populous country in the world by 2050 next only to China and India.
“This calls for serious and urgent planning as a growing population, particularly a young one present’s great economic, security and environmental challenges.
“However, the right investments and family planning will ensure that Nigeria reaps from this demographic dividend,’’ she said.
Thompson stated that Nigeria was gradually becoming the third most populated country in the world and that the large population had the potential to attract economic and security challenges.
She added that family planning was not only beneficial for Nigeria as a whole but beneficial to families by improving their standard of living.
“The term ‘family planning’ goes beyond contraception by taking into account sexuality education, planning your child’s birth for specific times and planning for a child when you have challenges conceiving one.
“ Family planning is important for the health of a mother and her children as well as the family’s economic situation by improving the standard of living of the family.
“ Expanding access to contraception and family planning programmes is one of the most cost-effective ways to break the cycle of poverty as it empowers people to plan their futures and reach their fullest potential.
“Organisations are actively seeking ways to increase access to information and resources related to family planning around the world with a particular focus on low income communities where family planning is less prevalent.” she said.
These organisations, she said, include the UK, UN Population Fund, World Health Organisation and other international organisations.
Also speaking at the event, the chairman of National Population Commission (NPC) Chief Eze Duruihuoma, stressed the need for Nigerians to be realistic with their family size by considering their finances when planning their family.
“It was in the olden days that having a large family was beneficial because having many children meant a family could manage their farmland better but those days are gone and we have to be realistic.
“Some people might just like the idea of having a large family due to their traditional or religious beliefs, however, it is only wise to produce the number of children that can be properly taken care of.
“The lesser the number of children one has, the better the standard of living that can be provided for that family.
“If everyone takes this into consideration, the Nigeria economy would be able to perform better,’’ he said.
NAN reports that by resolution 45/216 of December 1990, the UN General Assembly decided to continue observing World Population Day to enhance awareness of population issues, including their relations to the environment and development.
The Day was first marked on July 11, 1990 in more than 90 countries. (NAN)