The high population growth of Nigeria is described as a “risk factor” by the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan. You might be asking why. The Federal Government of Nigeria declares the nation’s growth as one of the unsustainable factors of the economy of the country. This is the major reason why Nigerian couples today are advised to take steps to reduce the number of children they want to give birth to. Is this the best step to tackle this? Read on, and see some of the effects of population growth in Nigeria, which includes the consequences and implications of population structure in Nigeria.
The Population of Nigeria and How it Affects the Country
What is the population of Nigeria?
This is one big question a lot of people have been asking. Well, Nigeria has an estimated total population of 190 million people, and this number keep increasing at a fast rate.
At a public consultation with the media in 2017, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zaina Ahmed, gave her position concerning the population growth of Nigeria. She said the Nigeria has a fertility rate of 5.5. This simply means that an average Nigerian woman has 5.5 children.
The Minister also pointed out that the country’s resources are limited and times are hard. As a result of this, she believes that families should reduce the number of children they intend giving birth to.
So, let us ask ourselves, it is it really a big problem for a nation when its population becomes larger? A lot of European countries die because their population is pretty low – they keep looking for immigrants. The sad news is that the Federal Government of Nigeria is going in the opposite direction.
History of Population Growth in Nigeria
When Nigeria gained her independence in 1960, it has a relatively small population of just 45.2 million citizens. According to the data from the Nigeria Health Watch, Nigeria had a 300% increase rate in the last 56 years. In 2015, Nigeria had a population of over 182.2 million citizens. Today the number has increased to an estimated 190 million citizens. Various Health Organisations in the world are of the opinion that Nigeria will soon be the third most populous country in the world.
Effects of Population Growth in Nigeria – The Major Problems
The major problems associated with population growth in Nigeria can be explained as follows:
Also read: 10 Major Economic problems in Nigeria
Health Sector Instability
The health sector of Nigeria is already not in the best state, and the high population growth of the country is posing more problems. At the moment, the health sector of Nigeria cannot survive without international help. With this fact, an overpopulated country will become a big problem for every health care facility in Nigeria, as they will not be able to provide adequate assistance for the sick people.
Sad news is that the Federal Government of Nigeria cannot create a plan for the country’s resources if the population keeps increasing. Presently, the high population growth in Nigeria has contributed to problems for every economic programme in the country. Nigeria have limited resources, and it seems that the country will continue to be resource oriented for a long period of time.
This means that Nigeria need to transform its economy from exporting its resources to exportation of goods. This will help to reduce the problem of high population. This type of drastic economic revolution is quite impossible right now. The federal government has to make plans with the limited resources it has, because if the population growth keeps increasing, the resources will not be divided equally.
Oil has remained the main source of income of the Nigerian economy. However, oil, like every other resource in the country, tends to be limited. There is also not much profit in the oil industry for all Nigerians to enjoy. You can check out the list of oil producing states in Nigeria to see how few they are compared to the 36 states found in the country. The second problem is the prices of oil which has been on the low side for quite a while now.
The second most seen problem in Nigeria is her unemployment rate. It is still very high, and a continued increase in this rate of job seekers will not augur well for the country. The government cannot provide adequate opportunities for economic growth in Nigeria. As a result of this, it is advisable for citizens to reduce their ambitions to make more children.
Political Situation of Nigeria
Another big problem Nigeria is suffering from is tribalism. If you take tribalism and multiply it by a high population, there will be a big problem. Nigeria is not a one-nation mentality country, it consists of thousands of tribes. Some tribes do not have a good relationship with one another.
What will happen to a country if the unemployment level is high, tolerance level is low, resource level is low, and the birth rate is high? The answer will definitely be chaotic.
How to Control Population Growth in Nigeria
There is only one major way of controlling population growth in Nigeria, and that is by Family Planning. Some experts have opined that is should be drastic as China’s ex-policy of “One family – one child”. But I believe Nigeria can reduce her population level without going to such extremes.
The two key factors to decrease population is the Contraceptive Prevalence Rate and Total Fertility Rate. The zones of Nigeria that faces much of this problem are the rural areas. This is majorly seen in the Northern states in Nigeria where the Total Birth Rate is as high as 6.5. Though it is almost impossible to ask Nigerians to stop making love, it is possible to promote the use of contraceptives.
This is the major reason it is important to educate people in the rural areas on the use of contraceptives. The second task is family planning, which also entails raising awareness of its importance so that parent can afford to give the best to their children.
Conclusion of the Effects of Population Growth in Nigeria
The population of Nigeria can be a great influence on its economy in the future. Unfortunately, lots of experts believes it will create more problems instead of making things better. Therefore, one of the main goals of the federal government of Nigeria should be how to decrease the population of the country. This can only be possible with the creation of new policies geared towards family planning.