From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, in Abuja launched the Revised National Policy on Population for Sustainable Development, stressing the need for urgent measures to address Nigeria’s high fertility rate, through expanding access to modern contraceptive methods across the country.
According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari also inaugurated the National Council on Population Management (NCPM), chaired by him, and the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, as deputy chairman with heads of relevant ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) as members.
Speaking on the country’s revised population policy, the president said its overall goal is to improve quality of life and standards of living of all Nigerians, which is one of the major aspirations of the government
“The policy emphasises 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, new born and children, and other population groups,” he said.
President Buhari noted 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, with more than 72 per cent of them being below 30 years while half of the female population are in their reproductive years (15-49).
“These levels have implications for sustained population growth and narrowed prospects to achieving population management, facilitating sufficient demographic transition, harnessing our demographic endowment and eventually realising sustainable development,” he said.
On other highlights of the revised population policy, the president explained that it underscores 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,” he said.