Nigeria has always has issues defining it priorities. The realities in Nigeria have always cause keen observers to doubt the sustainability and the future of the country. For instance, the cases of mass weddings and marriages sponsored by the government have made enlightened individuals to ask questions as to the benefits of this government interventions; one of these questions is how will these mass marriages improve the standard of living of the so called beneficiaries of this interventions, other than the fact that these marriages would increase the human population, in a country where the grip of poverty can only be likened to a grip of death.
The fact that the population of the world is exploding uncontrollably, is an issue that should be treated with real urgency. Basically, overpopulation occurs when the population of a living organism exceeds the carrying capacity of the region of their habitat. According to the statistic available to us, the population of the world tripled in the nineteen century, as a result of the improvement in modern medicine. The current population of the world is put at 7 billion by the United Nation, while the carrying capacity of the earth is estimated under existing condition between 4 billion and 16 billion. The population of the world is projected to reach 9.3 billion and 10.1 billion between the year 2040 and 2050.
In Nigeria however, the uncontrollably increase in Human population is one of the major problem the country is grappling with. It is a problem we have failed to see and acknowledge. An issue that has not in any way won our attention. The Government have basically gone mute or are oblivion of this issue, while Professionals who should speak up on this problem have been in an inaction mode for too long. Presently the population of the country have been estimated as 195,217, 53, a county with a land mass of 923,768. And the 7th most populated country in the world. However, it is the most populated country when we compare the ratio of her population and land mass with other countries on the list of the most populated countries in the world, for instance, Nigeria, whose land mass is not up to Texas, a state in the United State accounts for about 1/6 of the population of Africa.
Nigeria’s population reality can be liken to a monster that stares at the country with the aim of destroy it. Nigerians don’t seem to notice. Nigeria Population growth continues to skyrocket despite the inadequacy of the country’s living condition. Nigeria, has a developing nation has the problem of population growth to grapple with, especially when the economic and socio-cultural realities of the country are put into view. It is not news that most Nigerian leave in dehumanizing condition, the worst part is that they have even more children in these condition, thereby expanding the spread of misery.
Nigeria population surge is unconnected to factor like uncontrolled birth rate, which is a source of concern for the government of the country. Although, most state government in the country and other numerous organization have taken up the gauntlet to advocate for birth control and family planning, the rate of birth in the country is still on the high side. With an average of 5.5 birth per woman, the rate of birth is worrisome. In most cases, parents do not have the resources to ensure that the kids they bring into this world get the best lives possible. Some other factors aids overpopulation in the country, these factors include better medical services and care and reduction in death.
One reality that have continued to hold the country to ransom in this regards is religion and cultural sentiments. Must Nigerians see it as a cultural and religious obligation to have children as they can; Couples make babies because the holy books seems to give the license to do so, even went situation seems to be clamouring against it.
Although the unprecedented growth of the Nigerian population is not essentially the problem, the real problem is how to manage this accelerated growth. Nigeria’s human resource can be likened to the fate suffered by her natural resources; these resources are either wasted, abused, unused or destroyed. While our enormous population should be an advantage, it is a source of travail for the country, because instead of these massive human resources been the propeller of the economy, it is the reason the nation’s economy is still in shambles and drenched in poverty.
With the perpetual and uncensored increase in human population and the decline in the economic fortunes of the country, Nigeria is falling into an abyss faster than she realize. One of the reason conflict and crisis are on the rise in the country is because Nigerians are struggling to share the limited resources in the country; so is the case of Farmer/herder’s clashes, Millitancy in the South-south and in fact succession fight in the South-east. Other security issues in the country such as insurgency, armed robbery, kidnapping etc. can also be linked to the problem of overpopulation.
With the increase in the rate of rural-urban migration, the problem of overpopulation has become even more pronounced. People, especially young people leave their villages and set out for the city, with the hope of getting better lives for themselves, at the end of the day they are disappointed by what urban settlement can offer them. The increase in urban population further compound the burden of the government and increases the pressure on the infrastructure of the city. Food Security which is a priority for any government is presently under threat in Nigeria. With the continue increase in human population, and the continuous migration of young people to the cities, food crisis is eminent in the country, because there are lot of mouth to feed now with little food to satisfy them.
Nigerian government is doing too little to put this reality which seems like a challenge in the right light. The lack of adequate planning on the part of the government has made this issue a sickness that is hard to cure. For instance, the problem of Almajiris in the north have continued to make us question the will of both the government and society to solve this problem. With an estimated 15 million children out of school in Nigeria, the future of the country remains threatened. The Nigerian government needs to muster the boldness to plan and set in motion ideas that would help us deal with the issue. For the future of the country to be guarantee than the government must plan to secure the future of these Nigerians.
It is high time Nigerian and the government realize that Nigeria’s population surge cannot be sustained. The government must initiate stringent policies and laws that would put this uncontrollable growth in check. It is high time we take a cue from countries like India and China, which have made and introduced measure that have helped the country curtail these unsustainable growth. Restriction on the number of children given birth to in a family is one. Yes, these restrictions might incur the wroth of religious and cultural fanatics, however, at this point in time, this decision has been introduced.
Nigerians needs to be educated and reoriented about the need for family planning, Nigeria’s future depends on it. It is high time we leave above religious sentiments and also understand that the country resource is depleting and cannot sustain these unplanned growth. The government must also ensure that it is setting clear plans and goals in motion to ensure that the future of the country is not jeopardize by our weakness to act.