July 11 was the United Nations’ World Population Day, presenting fresh opportunities for exploding countries and cities around the world to re-examine their preparations for imminent growth.
The world’s population was estimated at 7.4 billion as at March 2016 and is expected to be around 11 billion by 2100.
A 2015 report by the World Bank states that Nigeria has a population of 182.2 million, and is expected to be the third most populous nation in the world by 2050.
But just how prepared is Nigeria, where citizens are still faced with the same challenges that plagued the country at independence.
The problems are enormous; the list is exhaustive. While erratic electricity supply and unemployment, to the list, here are six other indications that prove that Nigeria is not ready for imminent population explosion:
Unemployment is a well-known anthem, sung by many Nigerian youths, as tertiary institutions in the country churn out graduates every year in hundreds of thousands every year.
The chances of employment for these youths, who account for over 60 percent of the country’s population, are slim. Industries are finding it difficult to stay afloat due to economic realities in the country.
Leaving out the immigration recruitment in 2014 which led to the death of some job seekers, the 2016 Nigeria Police force recruitment is a classic example of the situation of Nigerian youths. More than 800,000 job seekers applied for 10,000 positions in the force.
The recent N-power scheme launched by the federal government tells a similar gloomy story.
Earlier in 2016, the country suffered an acute scarcity of tomatoes which led to a hike in the prices of the commodity.
Although it was attributed to a pest called tuta absoluta also known as Tomato Ebola, the almost immediate effect felt by Nigerians show that production (supply) is less than equal to demand.
If production does not increase soon, there will be a hike in prices of food items that will not be due to pests.
A father who does not know how many children he has will never be able to adequately provide for all of them.
A 2016 report by AFRI-DEV states that only nine of 36 states record above 50% of the total childbirth in the states.
Why then should we worry about the generation to come? After all, the present generation has not been catered for.
A family where three children is out of school is viewed as one that needs help. Make your conclusions about a country where 10.5 million children are out of school, according to UNESCO figures.
Although the government provides free primary and secondary education, it appears that the facilities are not sufficient.
Let’s hope that figure is reduced to the barest minimum before the next generation comes on board.
Malnutrition is not limited to hungry people; it extends to everyone who cannot afford the recommended nutritional requirements.
Instead of quoting figures, just ask a few people around you if they even know the nutritional requirements for a child or an adult. When you are through, you might discover that there are more malnourished people than you can imagine.
Population is our strength, but poor preparation and management, may turn it to our fiercest weakness. The time to act is now.