‘Seun Ibukun-Oni, Patrick Kelechi
Daily Courier – As Nigeria’s population hits 216 million by November, this year, making the country the sixth most populous country in the world, experts have warned that the current population growth rate has dire consequences if not speedily addressed.
Humanitarian activists such as Alain Boinet, founder of the French NGO Solidarités Internationale, have warned that “Africa, and in the Sahel in particular” constitute a “demographic bomb.”
In its 2022 World Population Prospects released on Monday, the United Nations projected the global population to reach 8 billion by 15 November 2022, with China maintaining its lead.
Nigeria has the largest population in Africa. The United Nations project that the overall population of Nigeria will reach about 401.31 million by the end of the year 2050. By 2100, if current figures continue, the population of Nigeria will be over 728 million.
The annual report prepared by the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs predicted that India would topple China as the world’s most populous country in 2050.
The report, which was released in commemoration of World Population Day shows Nigeria also moved from the 10th most populous country in 1990 with 94m people to become the 6th most populous nation in 2020 with 216m people.
The country is also projected to become the 4th most populous with a 375m population by 2050.
The report says Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Pakistan, the Philippines and the United Republic of Tanzania will account for more than half of the global population in 2050.
While stating that its latest projections suggest that the world’s population could grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030 and 9.7 billion in 2050, it said countries of sub-Saharan Africa were expected to contribute more than half of the figure to become the world’s most populated sub region.
It added that the world population projection would reach its peak of around 10.4 billion people during the 2080s and to remain at that level until 2100.
It quoted the UN’s Secretary-General, António Guterres, as saying, “This year’s World Population Day falls during a milestone year when we anticipate the birth of the earth’s eight billionth inhabitant.
While saying that the global population is growing at its slowest rate since 1950, having fallen under one per cent in 2020, the World Population Prospects 2022 also states that fertility has fallen markedly in recent decades for many countries.
It states that, globally, more men (50.3 per cent) exist than women (49.7 per cent) in 2022 but the figure is projected to slowly be equaled over the course of the century thus by 2050, it is expected that the number of women will equal the number of men.
“The relationship between population growth and sustainable development is complex and multidimensional,” said Liu Zhenmin, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs.
“Rapid population growth makes eradicating poverty, combatting hunger and malnutrition, and increasing the coverage of health and education systems more difficult,” he added.
Experts worry as Nigeria becomes 6th most populous country
According to the Census Bureau of the United States, the population of Nigeria will surpass that of the United
States in 2047, when the population of Nigeria will reach 379.25 million. With those numbers, Nigeria will become the third most populated country in the world. The major contributors to
Nigeria’s population growth are early marriages, high birth rates, religious factors, inadequate education, male child preference and lack of family planning access. The birth rate in Nigeria is about 37 births per 1,000 people. According to World Population Dashboard, Nigeria’s current population as at 7th July, 2022 is 216,908,161.
Population of older persons increasing
The report indicates that the population of older persons is increasing both in numbers and as a share of the total.
It projects that the global population aged 65 years or above will rise from 10 per cent in 2022 to 16 per cent in 2050.
The report advises countries with aging populations to take steps to adapt public programmes to the growing proportion of older persons, including by improving the sustainability of social security and pension systems and by establishing universal health care and long-term care systems.
Experts warn of consequences
Mr Victor Balogun, a Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, warned that the outcomes of population increase in Nigeria include: Environmental degradation and depletion of natural resources, Human congestion, and High unemployment rate culminating into increasing crime and insecurity amongst others.
He recommended amongst others:
National Population Commission, Ministry of Budget and National Planning and other allied parastatals and agencies must leave up to their mandate of providing data driven policies that is informed by global best practices.
There should be increased awareness and sensitization about the importance of family planning in order to checkmate increasing population in Nigeria.
The Federal Government should provide enabling environment to facilitate diversification of the economy to enhance productivity of labor and economic growth.
Appropriate measures should be adopted to curtail environmental degradation and the negative effects of climate change. Unemployment rate in Nigeria typifies a scenario of sitting on a keg of gun powder, there is urgent to engage the teaming youth population in skill acquisition and small scale businesses so as to reduce the crime and insecurity rate in the Country.
Nigeria must stop politicizing population census as concerted efforts should be made towards making the 2023 Population Census apolitical and conclusive.
National Population Census should be conducted at regular intervals following global best practices and standards.
Finally, he recommended that policies to enhance family planning should be enacted.