Wanted: A National Population Policy
Most of us know that Nigeria is one of the fastest-growing nations on the planet. It’s population is expected to mushroom from today’s 174 million to 440 million in 2050. Nigeria’s fertility rate is currently 6 (the global average is 2.5). So it’s very powerful to read these words in Nigeria's The Daily Sun about the impacts of overpopulation, written by a Nigerian.
Elder Professor Usua, former Dean of Science and Head of Zoology at the University of Calaba has experienced some of the tragic consequences of having more people than can be fed:
“It happened at Abudu at ten o’clock in the morning. Those boys, each not more than 25 years old, waylaid us, dispossessed us of all that we had, and even shot one of us through the stomach. The police men who came stood afar off, could not rescue us as the fire power of these ‘boys’ were too much for them. Imagine me, a professor, lying face down on the highway tarmac and praying that my life be spared!”
Professor Usua gets to the heart of the matter:
“…the tall twelve feet walls, or barb wires that we erect or install around our homes, castles, palaces, fortresses in Ikoyi, Abuja, Ikeja, Enugu, Umuahia, Uyo, Illorin, Calabar, Onitsha, Owerri, Port Harcourt, Kano, Kaduna, etc., will not protect us against the wrath of irate thugs and hoodlums that we are breeding in the name of the Biblical injunction, to wit, “go and multiply.”
Just like climate change, the overpopulation crisis isn’t some predicted, far-off possibility. It is happening now. Economic inequality has become the cause du jour because on a full planet you can expect rising conflict over scarce resources. It’s playing out in violence already occurring on other continents, and it will move into Europe, Australia and North America.
The good news is we can actually begin now to reverse population growth. What is required is for commentaries like Professor Usua’s to outnumber sermons from deacons of the church of growth everlasting; for people to realize their decisions about family size matter; and for us to recognize a world of 11 billion is not built into our destiny – it will only happen if we sit back and let it.
“For this nation to avert serious conflagration, revolution and genocide in future, it is time the nation thought of how to curtail the exploding population growth, just as the developing nations of the globe are doing.”
I can’t say for sure, but I don’t think Professor Usua is suggesting the government outlaw 3-child families. I believe he understands that nations can mobilize around an issue and most of the public will do the right thing when they understand what is at stake, when women have control over their bodies, and when contraception is available and affordable. Read the rest of Wanted, a National Population Policy. Then let’s all get busy.
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