2022 WORLD POPULATION DAY: NPC, UNFPA CALLS FOR EASY ACCESS TO FAMILY PLANNING IN NIGERIA

NPC Chairman, Hon. Nasir Isa Kwarra (middle) flanked by the Acting Director-General of the Commission, Ugoeze (Mrs.) Patience Uju Mbagwu (left) and Deputy Country Representative, UNFPA, Ms. Erika Goldson (right) while briefing the Press on the 2022 World Population Day Commemoration at the NPC Headquarters in Abuja …… 28th July 2022

The Chairman of the National Population Commission, Hon. Nasir Isa Kwarra, revealed that one of the ways to address the challenges of a growing population in the country is to have accelerated equitable access to family planning at all service points across all communities.

He stated this today at the Commission’s Headquarters in Abuja during a world press briefing to celebrate 2022 world population day saying there is a need to have a quality and healthy population that can contribute to the growth and development of the country.

2022 world population celebration has its theme: “A World of 8 billion: Towards a Resilient Future – Harnessing Opportunities and Ensuring Rights and Choices for All”  

He expressed that the Commission is working hard to conduct a free, fair, reliable, credible and acceptable census come 2023. 

According to him, Nigeria is among the eight countries globally sustaining the world population growth and leading in Africa. Current projections at 216 million people, who represent 216 million opportunities; if aptly harnessed, could transform the development landscape of our nation.

“The people’s age 13 structure favours the young people (those below the age of 30 years) who make up over 70 percent of our population.

“The situation calls for attention on providing quality and sustained investments in health care, particularly in family planning of women and adolescents, transformative and relevant education for growing numbers of children and young people that fits into current and future jobs requirements, housing and decent employment/jobs across successive administrations and governance.

“There is a need to harness the opportunities embedded in our people and establish resilience in addressing the challenges that our rapid population growth poses through accelerated equitable access to family planning at all service points across all communities.

 “Therefore, focusing on numbers, underplay the importance of Rights and Choices, necessitating the urgency to shift the conversation from quantity to quality and from liability to creating assets of the people that exist across Nigeria.”

Also speaking, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, who was represented by the Director of Family Health, Federal Ministry of Health Dr. Salma Ibrahim Anas said that the best way to reduce the population is to reduce the rate of fertility in the country.

According to her, Nigeria must regulate its fertility rate to achieve sustainable development that is why the Ministry of Health remains more committed and has continued to make giant strides toward the regulation of fertility in Nigeria.

On her own, the Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA United Nations Population Fund Resident Representative, Ulla Mueller, who was represented by the UNFPA Deputy Country Representative Erika Goldson said that African nations are relying on Nigeria to assist in achieving the Sustainable and Development Goals, SDGs, 2030, for the continent.

She said, “As you may be aware, Nigeria’s population is currently increasing at a rate of 3.2 percent annually and it is projected at 216 million in 2022 and may reach 400 million by 2050, making it the world’s most populated nation.

“This rapid population increase implies that Africa and global attempts to achieve the SDGs rely heavily on Nigeria’s development. So, my Nigerian compatriots, you have a huge responsibility to lead the African region.” She said.