President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday launched the revised National Population Policy for Sustainable Development in Abuja, stressing the need for urgent action to address Nigeria’s high fertility rate by expanding access to modern contraceptive methods across the country.
The President also inaugurated the National Council for Population Management (NCPM), which will be chaired by him, and the Vice President as Vice President with heads of relevant Ministries, Departments and Government Agencies (MDAs) in attendance. as members.
Speaking on the country’s revised population policy, the President, in a statement by his media assistant, Femi Adesina, said that its overall objective is to improve the quality of life and standard of living of all Nigerians, which is one of the main aspirations of the current government
“The policy underscores the urgency of addressing Nigeria’s high and sustained fertility rate, by expanding access to modern family planning, counseling and basic commodities, as well as promoting birth spacing .
“This will enable Nigeria to achieve rapid fertility control, improve the health of women, adolescents, newborns and children, and other population groups,” he said.
President Buhari noted that the population of Nigeria, which is the largest in Africa, the seventh largest in the world and one of the few whose fertility continues to rise, depends on a young population, more than 72% of ‘among them under 30 years old while half of the female population is of childbearing age (15-49 years old).
“These levels have implications for sustained population growth and diminished prospects for achieving population management, facilitating sufficient demographic transition, harnessing our demographic endowment, and ultimately achieving sustainable development,” he said.
On other highlights of the revised population policy, the President explained that it stresses the importance of investing in quality education for young people (especially girls), the development of human capital, the promotion of a holistic effort to achieve a meaningful demographic transition.
“The Revised Population Policy is rich with all the necessary information that will guide the implementation of Nigeria’s medium-term and forward-looking development plan.
“It will respond more to the concerns of the large population of young people who are our pride, our future and assets to drive our development efforts,” he added.
Noting that the implementation of the policy would require credible, reliable, timely, robust, geo-referenced and well-disaggregated data, President Buhari expressed confidence that the data generated by the upcoming census will provide all the information needed for the implementation. successful implementation of the New Policy.
Chairman, National Population Commission (NPC), Hon. Nasir Isa Kwarra, urged Nigerians to embrace the lofty ideals of planned parenthood and healthy reproductive behaviors enshrined in the policy.
Listing some salient issues in relation to the population policy, Kwarra noted that the policy review is the product of extensive consultations and nationwide engagements with key stakeholders and interest groups.
He said the groups cut across government sector ministries at national and state levels, civil society organizations, development partners, researchers, the media and the organized private sector.
Regarding the NCPM, the AFN President said the body was critical to the implementation of the revised policy, stating that “in addition to providing strategic direction in the implementation process, the Council, will hopefully champion and support the conduct of the population and housing census, thereby providing accurate and up-to-date data to guide policy implementation.”
In his message of goodwill, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Matthias Schmale, expressed his belief that the policy launched by President Buhari was bound to succeed for several reasons.
“First, the policy brings to the fore the links between population and development and will inform work and services to improve the well-being and lives of Nigerians.
“Second, the policy follows the recently launched National Development Plan 2021-2025, which aims to make Nigeria the largest economy in Africa and even more of a force to be reckoned with in the world.
“Thirdly, the successful implementation of the national policy will most likely have positive implications for the development of maternal health, the rights of youth and adolescents, and the empowerment of women and girls,” the senior official said. the UN in Nigeria.
Praising the Nigerian government for initiating this policy, Schmale said the world and the UN are looking forward to a Nigeria with low maternal mortality; low teenage pregnancy and childbirth; a reduced fertility rate, increased use of modern methods of contraception and a high level of education, among others.
He pledged that the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which is responsible for providing support for the generation of quality data, will continue to work with the NPC to help ensure that Nigeria’s upcoming census meets standards. and local and international acceptability.