By the year 2050, Africa will be the most populous place in the world and Nigeria will be the third most populated country in the world. The population of Nigeria is expected to surpass that of the US to become the third as the population of China, India, Pakistan, Indonesia and the United States of America will cross the three hundred million nark to make the world population just shy of 10 Billion inhabitants by 2050.
This knowledge comes in a new UN report released by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs titled “World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision.” The report also gives some damning information about the future of Nigeria. Statistics by experts show that by 2040, Nigeria’s population growth would have quadrupled without commensurate amenities and employment to sustain it.
If there has ever been any time to discuss the future and make plans for this future, it will be now. Better than other times, there are information and data to back up the provided information for us to be concerned about our shared futures as Africans and Nigerians. A country without amenities and opportunities to provide for its citizens will degenerate into chaos which will most likely lead to loss of human capital or even worse; a war which might mean the end of a Nigeria as we know it. The theory of self-preservation extensively explains to us that humans will do anything – absolutely anything to survive and will not mind resorting to crime to do this survival.
Here are four takeaways from our already existing population explosion.
1. Legislation: Seeing as development is a long-term project, the government of Nigeria can introduce a policy now to reduce the entrants of newborns into society. Following Chinas one child policy at this time will not be a bad idea. While enforcing it might be a hassle, the government can set up checks and balances to increase its interaction with its citizens and enforce future legislations. It could come in the form of the BVN getting converted into a Social Security Number to tracks its citizens.
2. Sex Education: Nigeria likes to pride itself as a religious nation. It is not. People are still having sex, people are still getting pregnant and sometime in the last 12 months, a shipment of sex enhancing drugs was found in the North. There needs to be proper sex education – especially from the places Nigerians are fanatical about. In our Churches and Mosques, religious leaders need not shy away from topics about sex or the truth that Nigerians particularly enjoy getting under the sheets. Safe sex should be taught about, with contraceptives cheap and easy to access.
3. The strain on Economy: Lately, save for some state governments, Nigeria has been unable to cater for its people. There are currently over two million Internally Displaced People in Nigeria. The economy took a terrible hit and there have been no policies to alleviate the situations of Nigerians, with a lot of them crossing over from the middle-class table to being poor. Nigerians and the government need to have begun work yesterday. New policies need to be made. Personal interests need to be taken away from a place of power and with Nigerians having the ability in their hands come 2019, Nigerians need to vote in people with proven track record to be at the helm of affairs.
4. Declining Healthcare: What happens when Nigerian doctors are appreciated in other parts of the world – parts of the world with better opportunities for personal and professional development? They keep leaving. There currently exists an unhealthy balance in the number of doctors available to the number of people in Nigeria. With less than a million doctors in Nigeria currently, what happens when the world population increases? As a country, we need to do better for our people. The largest amount of migrant doctors to the US are Nigerians and these Nigerians are breaking and setting new records. But Nigeria remains suffering.
There are a lot of important conversations we need to have as Nigerians. A population explosion we are currently going through much like climate change is real. There is no god or God somewhere that will magically fix things for us. If there was, a dollar would equal one naira and Nigeria’s electricity problems would have been fixed years ago. We need to do better and move from making political decisions in favour of the people that provide us with rice or recharge cards to strongly minded academics, businessmen with track records.