Nigeria now has an estimated population of 198 million people. We are growing exponentially without commensurate infrastructure
From the Chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC), Mr. Eze Duruiheoma, comes a revelation that didn’t really shock anyone--Nigeria’s population now hovers above the 198 million mark.
“Nigeria remains the most populous in Africa, the seventh globally with an estimated population of over 198 million,” Duruiheoma said.
To put that in simpler English, Nigeria is currently the 7th most populous country in the world with our bad roads, asphyxiating economy, poor power supply, horrible leaders and poor infrastructure everywhere you turn.
I actually consider Duruiheoma's figure conservative. We are a lot more.
To be clear, Duruiheoma’s 198 million figure is an estimate but he wasn’t so far from the truth if you take into cognizance average annual population growth rate of more than 6.5 per cent.
The 2006 census had our population at 140 million—even though a lot of cattle, goats and birds were factored into that equation.
A train in modern day Lagos (ThisDay)
In 2016, the World Bank estimated that Nigeria had a population of 186 million.
Nigeria conducts a census every decade but we couldn’t conduct one in 2016 because the federal government cited paucity of funds.
3rd most populous country
“The recent World Population Prospects report predicts that by 2050, Nigeria will become the third most populated country in the world”,Duruiheoma added grimly.
The danger here is that while our population continues to grow exponentially, there is no commensurate social amenities and infrastructure underpinning the growth. So, we are bringing more and more children into a country that can’t fend for they and their siblings.
I once lived in a house where the security guard—a chap from the nation's north—had six kids and had just impregnated his wife for a seventh. One evening, over soft drinks, I asked why he was so hell bent on procreating on a meagre salary.
“Oga, na God dey give pikin. If God give am, wallai, I no go say no. Walai talai!”, he told me outside his kiosk where he sells condoms and other contraceptives alongside beverages.
We certainly can’t continue to make babies at the rate we are making them. Family planning and birth control should be a significant part of the job of the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and relevant agencies, going forward.
Our cities are urban slums with zero planning for a burgeoning population.
According to the NPC boss, Nigeria “grew substantially from 17.3 per cent in 1967 to 49.4 per cent of the country’s total population in 2017. In addition, the 2014 World Urbanisation Prospects report, predicts that by 2050, most Nigerians – 70 per cent – will be residing in cities….without commensurate increase in social amenities and infrastructure”.
When development indices remain poor as population continues to explode, you know your country is literally sitting on a time bomb.
At a time the world is talking sustainable and smart cities, we are still grappling with how to dispose of waste properly; we are still commissioning a locomotive rail line with so much fanfare in the age of bullet trains and we still make a song and dance from handing 7,000 megawatts of electricity to a population of some 200 million people.
Nigeria is a basket case. To plug the holes in this everlasting basket, we have to begin by educating people about contraceptives, birth control and family planning. And the best time to start was yesterday