NPC preaches family planning for sustainable development

The National Population Commission (NPC) has called on the federal government, religious and cultural leaders, citizens and all stakeholders to engage more in harnessing human capital opportunities by building resilience to curb growth rapid demographic growth thanks to family planning services across the country.

Chairman of the Commission Hon. Nasir Isa-Kwarra, said this Thursday in Abuja to commemorate World Population Day 2022, which has the theme: “A World of Eight Billion: Towards a Resilient Future – Harnessing Opportunities and Securing Rights and Choices for All .

Isa-Kwara noted that Nigeria’s population is currently projected at 216 million, saying that if these figures are properly harnessed, it could transform the nation’s development landscape.

“Societies that invest in their people, in their rights and choices, have proven that such investments create the path to lasting peace and prosperity that everyone desires and deserves,” he said.

According to him, the current age structure of young people maintains the momentum that will lead to a sustained increase in population growth, underscoring the need for careful attention to quality and sustained investment in health care.

“The situation calls for attention to the provision of quality and sustained investments in health care, especially in family planning for women and adolescents, transformative and relevant education for a growing number of children and young people – which adapts to current and future demands for employment, housing and decent employment/jobs across successive administrations and governance.

“Nigeria is among eight countries that are globally supporting global population growth and leading in Africa. Current projections at 216 million people, which represents 216 million opportunities; if harnessed well, it could transform the development landscape of our country.

“The structure of the population at 13 favors young people (those under 30) who represent more than 70% of our population,” he added.

In her remarks, the Resident Representative of the United Nations Population Fund, Ulla Mueller, said African nations look to Nigeria to help them achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, 2030, for the continent.

She said: “As you may be aware, the population of Nigeria is currently growing at a rate of 3.2% per annum and it is expected to reach 216 million in 2022 and could reach 400 million by 2050, which makes the most populous nation in the world.

“This rapid population increase means that Africa and global attempts to achieve the SDGs are highly dependent on Nigeria’s development. So my fellow Nigerians, you have a huge responsibility to lead the African region.

Speaking, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said Nigeria must regulate its fertility rate to achieve sustainable development.

Represented by the Director of Family Health of the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Salma Anas, said: “We have to regulate fertility, without fertility regulation we are going nowhere. This is in fact the key to unlocking the success of sustainable development in Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Health has positioned itself to achieve this goal.

In her goodwill message, Country Director of Pathfinder International, Dr. Amina Aminu Dorayi, said the fertility rate in Nigeria is 5.3 and estimated to reach 400 million in 2050, stressing the need for women, girls and families to be protected and their rights respected to enable fulfillment of roles and planning for future investments.

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