Nigeria 'must slow population explosion'

2012-06-27 14:10

Abuja - President Goodluck Jonathan has urged Nigerians to only have the number of children they can afford and backed wider use of birth control in Africa's most populous country.

Nigeria is the continent's largest country when it comes to population, with about 160 million people, and the UN estimates it could grow to about 400 million by 2050.

Jonathan called for programmes aimed at encouraging "Nigerians to have the number of children they can manage", and signalled that government policies could be adopted in the future.

"For us to plan properly, we must manage our population, but it is extremely sensitive," Jonathan said in Abuja late on Tuesday in an address to the National Population Commission board members.

"We are extremely religious people ... It is a very sensitive thing."

Nigeria's population is growing 2.5% annually, a rate some see as unsustainably high in an already densely populated country sorely lacking infrastructure.

Jonathan said that deeply held religious convictions in the country divided between a mainly Muslim north and mostly Christian south make population control a challenge.

"Both Christians and Muslims, and even traditionalist and all the other religions, believe that children are God's gifts to man," he said.

"So it is difficult for you to tell any Nigerian to number their children because... it is not expected to reject God's gifts."

  • Henk - 2012-06-27 14:19

    The only real African success story! To breed, just ask JZ...

  • Irene - 2012-06-27 14:31

    Well said Goodluck Jonathan. At last! The problem is not just in Nigeria but the entire African continent.

  • benchuks34 - 2012-06-27 15:05

    Well said my Presidoo! But as long as men and women are mating every second of every minute,then population is likely to rise without control.thanks.

  • Helene Lee - 2013-08-12 17:02

    Why don't scientists come up with a way to sterilise all female babies at birth, then, when women are ready to have kids, they must sit an exam, like getting a car or gun licence, and if they pass the test (which would be physical, mental and financial), they can get the procedure reversed? that way, all children would be wanted children and governments would be able to manage their populations and resources

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