Re: Nigeria’s population at 55

nigeria55SIR: This is a rejoinder to the letter from B.A. Bakare on October 14, 2015. I will start by making reference to the same speech of Mr. President. “Our Creator has bequeathed to us numbers…Nigeria is the ninth most populated country on the planet.”

Thank you, Mr. President,, for acknowledging that the gift of number bequeathed to us by the Creator is what makes us Nigeria and not South Africa or any other nation. It is true that we are not GREAT yet due to several reasons we
can all rattle off: corruption, insecurity and lack of unity of purpose as Mr. President has said. An enabling environment would enable us to achieve continuity and ensure economic progress.

Large population when well harnessed has always been a boost to economic growth. Great countries like America, China, Russia that also happen to be among the most populous countries in the world have built their economy off the sweat of a large work force courtesy of a large population. The population may not always equal economic growth but harnessing a large workforce of a country will give the desired results. South Africa’s economy is as it is because of high infrastructural development, political stability and security not necessarily because of a lower population. Nigeria as a country is plagued by political instability and insecurity, which has slowed down our development and subsequently the economic progress. So we cannot and we should not compare ourselves to South Africa. Our big cities may be overcrowded, but our country is not.

China is facing a demographic time bomb that threatens its economic rise because of its birth control policies of the 60s. Now president Xi Jinping is considering shifting his priority to population growth. The exact opposite of what is being suggested. China is not the only one. If a large population is such a cross, why is Denmark paying couples to have more children and Canada encouraging you to come, study, work and live in their country.

Sometime in the past, they all had a supposed population problem and birth control was the solution to their economic mess. Now they are all trying to get rich before they get old. There are fewer people to sustain the economy. Is that what we want for Nigeria?

The recent boom of infertility clinics in Nigeria is a clear sign that more women are having trouble conceiving. Family sizes are dwindling. Now couples spend money trying to have children. When was the last time one saw a really large family? I mean a family of about 10 kids. We do not need to control “high birth rate” because it does not exist.

International bodies from western countries use these figures to scare us into swallowing their pills and fattening their pockets. Or is it that our rising numbers are a big threat to them? The female folk can attest to what it does to them, making them strangers to their own bodies. Being in the medical field, I can attest to this. Dare we talk about the resulting cancers and other related diseases?

• V. C. Ezinne, Lagos.

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