By Emmanuel Nduka
Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari is bothered by the high fertility rate among Nigerian couples, and has thus called for the expansion of access to modern contraceptive methods across the country to address the nation’s rising population.
The President made this appeal while speaking at the launch of the revised National Policy on Population for Sustainable Development in the State House, Abuja, on Thursday.
Buhari explained that the overall goal of the policy is to improve the quality of life and standards of living of all Nigerians.
He also inaugurated the national council on population management, which he chairs.
“The policy emphasizes the urgency to address Nigeria’s sustained high fertility rate, through expanding access to modern family planning, counselling and commodities as well as promote births spacing.
“This will enable Nigeria to achieve rapid fertility control, improve the health of women, adolescents, newborn and children, and other population groups,”Buhari was quoted as saying in a statement issued by his spokesman, Femi Adesina.
While noting that Nigeria’s population, which is the largest in Africa, seventh globally and among the few whose fertility is still growing, is hinged on a youthful population, the President stated that more than 72 percent of the youths are below 30 years while half of the female population are in their reproductive years (15-49 years).
Buhari explained further that other highlights of the revised population policy underscore the importance of investing in quality education of young people (particularly girls), human capital development, advancing holistic effort to achieve significant demographic transition.
“The Revised Population Policy is rich with all necessary information that will guide the implementation of Nigeria’s Mid-term and Perspective Development Plan.
“It will further address concerns of the large population of young people who are our pride, our future and assets to drive our development efforts,” he added.