According to a United Nations report in June 2018, Nigeria will overtake the United States of America to become the third most populous nation in the world.
The report by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs' Population Division predicts this will happen by the year 2050, all things being equal. Out of the 10 most populous countries in the world, Nigeria which is in the seventh position has the fastest growing population.
God might have told man at the beginning of the world to be fruitful and multiply at the beginning of the world. However, in the 21st century, Nigeria's fast population growth is a fruit that is leaving a bitter taste on the tongues of its citizens.
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The terrifying numbers
Nigeria is beset by enormous problems ranging from poverty to lack of a healthcare system. The fast population growth is a burden on an already weak system. This forecast serves as a warning to Nigeria, a ticking time bomb.
The numbers foretell a bleak future for us. The infant mortality rate in Nigeria is the third highest in the world, 69.8 deaths/1,000 live births as of 2017. In America, the infant mortality rate in 2016 was 5.6/1,000 live births.
When you read these numbers please bear in mind that the Infant mortality rate is an indicator of population health.
Another bad statistic is the fertility rate. In 2015, the fertility rate in Nigeria was 5.59 births per woman (2015) Fertility rate Nigeria and in America, it was 1.84 births per woman.
Comparing the U.S and Nigeria is surely like comparing apples and oranges. In 32 years, there would be more Nigerians than Americans in the world. America's numbers point to a working system while ours show a system on the brink of collapse.
There are 186 million Nigerians and according to the World Poverty Clock, an estimated 86 million of us are living in poverty. This is a crisis. Nigeria is producing more people than it can take care of. The big family culture hasn't helped matters also.
From 2008-2011, 5.8 million babies were born in Europe. In contrast, Nigeria produced 30.4 million babies in this same period.
31 years ago
As far back as 1987, Nigeria has been seeking ways to reduce its population growth. A New York Times article of the same year highlights the government's approach in doing this.
"In addition to making contraceptives inexpensive and available to all Nigerians, the plan seeks to reduce family size by improving the general health of women and children. By reducing infant mortality, women will no longer want to have multiple pregnancies, health officials say.
The program is tentatively scheduled to cost $100 million for the first five years - with the money coming from the Nigerian Government, the World Bank and the United States Agency for International Development" wrote the New York Times.
31 years down the line we can see that the goals of the then National Population Bureau, now National Population Commission were never achieved.
The Buhari administration is yet to come up with a plan to deal with the issues of high population growth rate. The President himself has linked the growth rate to the communal violence in the middle-belt of Nigeria. He has also charged the National Universities Commission (NUC) to research the implications of Nigeria's growth rate.
No blueprint is yet to be drawn up concerning Nigeria's impending population crisis.