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    Categories: Development Cable

Group gets FOI reply pegging Nigeria’s population at 140m

Onelife Initiative for Human Development, a non-governmental organisation, says it sent a freedom of information (FOI) request to the National Population Council (NPC).

According to the group,  the request signed by ‘Sola Fagorusi, its acting executive director, on June 26, sought to know the total population of each state in Nigeria and the federal capital territory.

It also demanded the population be  broken down into male and female, and also the total population of youths (15-35) in Nigeria.

“The requested was premised on ‘the disclosure at the 51st session of Commission on Population and Development in New York in April 2018 where the commission’s chairman Mr. Eze Duruiheoma disclosed that the population of Nigeria is now 198 million,” Fagurosi said.

The group said it demanded the information ahead of the 2018 world population day themed ‘Family Panning is a Human Right’.

Eze Duruiheoma, NPC chairman, had in April  pegged Nigeria’s population at 198 million- 7th largest in the world.

The group, however, said in response to the FOI request, it was provided with a “federal government’s official gazette of February 2009, volume 96, putting Nigeria’s population at 140 million”.

“We were surprised at the document we got,” he said.

“We had expected that such disclosure on the international stage will be premised on a cumulative from the states and such will be made available to aid various private and public sector organisation at the state level in planning and projection.”

Meanwhile, the group also addressed a press conference as part of its activity to commemorate the day.

Speaking on behalf of the organisation at the press conference, Rachael Arowolo, its programmes officer, said family planning is not just about child spacing for young people, “it is more than that, it is also about life planning”.

‘Family planning reflects largely the quality of life of every young Nigerians. Reproductive rights have become a global issue especially given Nigeria’s youth bulge, with a population waiting to double by 2050,” she said.

“It is a necessity to ensure that every young person has access to comprehensive and adequate family/life planning options that will influence informed choices without restrictions as the case may be.

“If a young person is old enough to engage in sex, he or she is also old enough to be responsible by making right and safe life choices.

“Family/Life planning is a right that girls and young women should never be deprived of. Since, the burden of unplanned family/life rests majorly on them.

“The current fertility rate in Nigeria is 5.7, which means that the average women in Nigeria give birth to about five to six children.

“Nigeria’s contraceptive prevalence rate is at about 16% with highest unmet needs being among sexually active young people.

“Family planning has economic and financial implications for the country. A slow population growth will impact positively on economic development, as the limited resources will be sufficient for the existing population.”