The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), in collaboration with Population Matters, a UK-based charity and with support from the Lagos State Government has hosted the 2019 World Population Day.
Notably, the theme of this year’s programme is tagged ‘Population and Sustainability in Nigeria and beyond‘. The event took place on Thursday, at Lekki Conservation Foundation, Lagos state.
The panelists comprised of various stakeholders and experts in environment and global population. They gathered to discuss the prospects of over population in the country and globally and tenable solutions. Further, they discussed about the impacts and effects on the people, human health, and the environment itself.
Nigerian Conservation Foundation disclosed that the aim of the event is to address both global population and the impacts of growth in Nigeria. In addition, the NCF seeks to examine how Nigeria can contribute towards international policy initiatives to address unsustainable population.
Impacts, Effects and solutions Increasing human population
Director General, Nigerian Conservation Foundation, Mr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano warned on the consequences of over-population on the environment.
“Are we happy to continue to live in an environment where catastrophe is approaching because of over population? We increase every day. We are going close to over 200 million people living in Nigeria. The consequence is on the environment. We should not be talking about population in terms of number. Rather, what we should tackle is population pressure and consumption that goes with population,” he said.
One of the panelists, Mrs. Simiat Lawal, noted that the National Population Commission’s policy has written out its targets in order to achieve a sustainable development of the national population.
Equally, Mrs. Lawal is a Deputy Director in the National Population Commission (NPC). She represented the Federal Commissioner of the NPC, Barrister Bimbola Salu-Hundeyin.
“Our targets are to reduce the national population annual growth rate to two per cent or lower. Currently, our population growth rate is 2.8%. Our target for child birth rate reduction is .6%, while children are giving birth to every five years. The reduction rate of contraceptive will be 2% contrary to the current 12%,” she said.
Lawal noted that in order to achieve these targets, some factors need to be put into consideration.
“The way forward is investing in family planning, quality education especially the girl child, and appropriate policy implementation,” she stressed.
Number, not the major issue
On the other hand, the director of Population Matters, a UK-based charity organization, Mr. Robin Maynard said the major issue is not about the population control. Instead. he said it should be tackled with awareness.
He said, “The population control is about choice and rights of the people. We need to raise awareness about it. There should be discussions too and think about it. The policy of control was introduced in some countries; which worked for some time, but later died. But if you force people to do things, it might not work. Awareness is the key through education and empowerment.”
Equally important, one of the keynote speakers, Mrs. Temitope Okunnu shed more light on the issue at hand. She explained the health implication of increasing human population.
Further, Mrs. Okunnu said that increasing population may become a severe problem to Nigeria. She attributed this to a lack of national resources to cater for the needs of its people. Furthermore, she highlighted some of the causes of over population. Some of them are poverty, lack of education, sex education, high infant mortality, and male child preference among others.
Notably, Okunnu said over population have effects and impacts on the nation.
“Energy consumption will be high. This will cause more degradation of the environment, over-use of natural resources and deforestation.
“The impacts of over population on the human health could lead to global warming, problems with sanitation, climate change, various outbreaks of diseases, malnutrition. About 3.2 billion people – nearly half of the world population are at risk of malaria,” she stressed.
Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of the Environment, Mr. Abiodun Bamgboye addressed the impacts of increasing human population on the Lagos environment.
He mentioned that, “Over thirty numbers of wetlands of various sizes were lost across the state. We are left with two in its original nature. Our responsibility now is to protect it. Nothing must happen to the lives on the remaining two wetlands.”
Markedly, Bamgboye talked about two tenable solutions that could bring help achieve a sustainable development of the national human population.
He said that, “Socio-Political management is one of the solutions we need to apply. This comes in terms of decentralization of industrialization, adequate security, cultural renaissance and attitudinal change, rural infrastructural development and employment.
“The second solution is technical management which requires a review of state law on environment management, protection of habitats, waste management, green planting and nurturing among others,” he noted.
According to Bamgboye, Lagos state accommodates 70% of Nigeria total industrial investment. He said that the annual growth rate of Lagos is 3.4%.
The current population of Nigeria is 201,021,495 based on the latest United Nations estimates. In addition, Nigeria population is equivalent to 2.6% of the total world population.