Nigeria Becomes 6th Most Populous Country, hits 216 million

nigeria becomes 6th most populous country, hits 216 million
nigeria becomes 6th most populous country, hits 216 million

As Nigeria’s population reaches 216 million by November of this year, making it the sixth most populous country in the world, experts have cautioned that the present population growth rate has catastrophic repercussions if it is not addressed immediately.

They assert that the government and other relevant parties must take immediate action to remedy the problem.

The United Nations forecast in its 2022 World Population Prospects report released on Monday that the global population will reach 8 billion by November 15, 2022, with China continuing its lead.

The Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs forecasted in its annual report that India would surpass China as the world’s most populated nation by 2050.

The analysis, which was released in honour of World Population Day, reveals that Nigeria moved from the tenth most populated nation in 1990 with 94 million people to the sixth most populous nation in 2020 with 216 million people.

The country is also expected to become the fourth most populated by 2050, with a population of 375 million.

In 2050, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, and the United Republic of Tanzania will account for more than fifty percent of the world’s population, according to a report.

While adding that its most recent predictions indicate that the world’s population might reach approximately 8.5 billion in 2030 and 9.7 billion in 2050, it stated that sub-Saharan Africa is likely to contribute more than half of that number, making it the world’s most populous sub area.

It was projected that the world’s population would reach its high of approximately 10,4 billion in the 2080s and remain at that level until 2100.

It quoted António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, as stating, “This year’s World Population Day falls amid a landmark year when we expect the birth of the eight billionth resident of the planet.

World Population Prospects 2022 notes that the global population is rising at its slowest rate since 1950, with a projected growth rate of less than 1% in 2020, and that fertility rates in many nations have declined significantly over the past several decades.

Globally, there are more men (50.3%) than women (49.7%) in 2022, but this disparity is likely to be eliminated by the end of the century. By 2050, the number of women is projected to equal that of men.

According to Liu Zhenmin, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, the relationship between population increase and sustainable development is complex and multilayered.

“Rapid population increase makes it more difficult to eradicate poverty, eliminate hunger and malnutrition, and expand access to health and education systems,” he added.

Increasing population of older individuals

The research demonstrates that the elder population is growing in both absolute numbers and as a proportion of the total.

It is projected that the global population aged 65 and older would increase from 10% in 2022 to 16% in 2050.

The research recommends countries with ageing populations to take efforts to adjust public programmes to the growing share of older people, including enhancing the viability of social security and pension systems and instituting universal health care and long-term care systems.

Experts warn about repercussions

Dr. Aminu Magashi Garba, Coordinator of the Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN), cautioned that the country’s growing population would result in food shortages, fewer jobs, unemployed youths, insecurity, hunger, and poor health indicators.

The solution, according to him, is to invest in family planning to manage the population and “Be imaginative to use the ‘youth bulge’ to your advantage by keeping them involved in productive activities that will support industries like Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and agriculture.

He recommended that the federal government redouble its efforts to achieve the Family Planning (FP) 2030 objective.

In March of this year, the federal government formally unveiled the 2030 FP pledge in Abuja.

Garba stated that, except from the recent launch of documents by the federal government, there have been no concrete steps by the administration to ensure the FP 2030 is met in order to rein in the country’s population.

Even more concerning, he argued, was the fact that 70 percent of Nigeria’s approximately 200 million inhabitants were under 30 years old.

Prof. Emmanuel Lufadeju, National Coordinator of the Rotary Action Group for Reproductive Maternal and Child Health (RMCH), has stated that if nothing is done to address Nigeria’s population growth rate, it will result in poverty.

In addition to unemployment and inadequate resource utilisation, he noted that the population was expanding faster than the resources could handle.

“It is as if you cram 20 people into a space meant for two; the conclusion is suffocation, congestion, bad transportation, inadequate power supply, food scarcity if nothing is done, too many mouths to feed, and water shortage in many towns.

“These are fundamental human needs; if the population continues to expand, they will be inadequate, and diseases and pandemics will ensue,” he warned.

Prof. Lufadeju stated on his way out that citizens must be trained to have only as many children as they can care for, to use contemporary contraceptives, to space the births of their children, and to ensure that they are able to educate their children.

“These are the initiatives we are pursuing; there is no way to continue having births and children without depleting the nation’s resources.” As a result of bandit attacks, many families have abandoned their fields, leading to widespread starvation and malnutrition among children, particularly those under the age of five. Therefore, we are attempting to rectify the issue in rotary,” he continued.

According to reproductive health expert Dr. Ejike Orji, Nigeria is undergoing demographic crises due to its high fertility rate.

According to him, the country’s population has increased dramatically over the past decade, with a fertility rate of 5,3 compared to the global fertility rate of 2,5.

He stated, “The problem is that we produce more people than we can care for at any given time due to our high fertility rate.”

Also, the AHBN Meaningful Adolescent and Youth Engagement (MAYE) Working Group urged governments at all levels and other key stakeholders to put in place modalities to ensure that the youth in the country are productively engaged through the provision of quality education and skill acquisitions so that they can contribute to the socio-economic development of the country.

Mrs. Oyeyemi Pitan, convener of MAYE, stated, “We are urging the federal government to maximise its burgeoning youth population by enhancing the quality of and access to education.

The issue of repeated strike action in the education sector, such as the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), must be resolved once and for all. Youth should also be empowered and equipped with the necessary skills to enable them to contribute to the resolution of national concerns.”

“Poverty will increase”

Mr. Paul Alaje, Senior Economist with SPM Professionals in Abuja, is unenthusiastic about Nigeria’s expected population growth.

On the basis of Nigeria’s growth pattern and criteria over the past seven years and more, he stated that Nigeria’s poverty rate will increase, especially with the predicted population growth of the United Nations.

He remarked that in economics, what you do with the people is more important than its size. A population of 100 individuals is considered to be overpopulated if they cannot feed themselves. But we may say that a population of 1,000 is not overpopulated because they can produce enough resources to sustain themselves.

According to him, the most important aspect of a people is its output.

He emphasised that Nigeria’s economy was predominantly consumer-driven and not productive enough to support a population of 375 million by 2050.

Alaje claimed that there was a significant infrastructure deficit and that the present infrastructure is insufficient to serve the smaller population, especially given the massive rural-to-urban movement caused by the absence of infrastructure in the villages.

He stated that he did not foresee Nigeria optimising its population in the same manner as China, which lifted over 200 million people out of poverty in 20 years, adding, “For Nigeria, in 20 years we will have more people living in poverty.”

Mr. David Akwu, an economic analyst and lecturer at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, stated that normally, population should be an asset, but in Nigeria’s case, it is a burden because a substantial portion of the population is ignorant and unproductive in the true sense of the word.

He stated that Nigeria must invest in education and prevent the epidemic of out-of-school children, particularly the Almajiri system widespread in the North.

He called for all Nigerian parents to practise birth control.

“Investing in human capital will ensure a prosperous future”

Executive Director of the Center for Fiscal Transparency and Integrity Watch (CeFTIW), Umar Yakubu, reacted to the development by stating that the implications of a growing population are tremendous unless Nigeria invests in human capital development.

As our population increases, we must plan for the future, and the only way to do so is to invest in human capital. As we cannot continue to be a single-economy indefinitely, this has enormous repercussions as it will place greater strain on our limited resources.

As a result, governments at all levels must begin investing in human capital and create more jobs in other economic areas. In agriculture, for instance, technology has enabled the production of genetically modified crops, and the same is true for other industries.

“Our people are gifted, and we must invest in them so that they may use their creativity to address our challenges in the future,” he continued.

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