President Muhammadu Buhari
*Launches revised population policy
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA— PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari yesterday stressed the need for urgent measures to address Nigeria’s high fertility rate, through expanding access to modern contraceptive methods across the country.
Buhari, who spoke at the launch of the Revised National Policy on Population for Sustainable Development, inaugurated the National Council on Population Management, NCPM, chaired by him, and the Vice President as the deputy chairman, with heads of relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, as members.
On the country’s revised population policy, he said its overall goal was to improve the quality of life and standards of living of all Nigerians, which remained one of the major aspirations of his government.
The President said: “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, new born and children, and other population groups.”
He said Nigeria’s population, the largest in Africa and seventh globally, was hinged on a youthful population, with more than 72 percent of them being below 30 years, while half of the female population is in their reproductive years (15-49 years).
“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 realizing sustainable development,” he said.
The President, while commenting on other highlights of the revised population policy, said it stressed the importance of investing in quality education of young people (particularly girls), human capital development, advancing holistic efforts 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,’’ the President said.