BY TAIWO OGUNMOLA-OMILANI
There is no doubt that Nigeria’s population is increasing daily with the high rate of child birth. In controlling this, healthcare centres have started distributing condoms to mothers. TAIWO OGUNMOLA-OMILANI writes.
The rate at which people give birth to children in Nigeria is alarming.
This trend is common among the poor people and when we asked some of them why they take delight in having many children, they quote the book of Genesis 1 verse 28 that says “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.’
The trading economics global macro models and analysts’ expectations said that in the long-term, the Nigerian population is projected to trend around 203.13 million in 2020, according to their econometric models.
Therefore, the fear of overpopulation made the Federal Government to commence family planning campaign in all primary healthcare centres across the country.
The jingle is in both local languages and English Language just to ensure the message gets to the people.
The irony of it is that as people give birth to children, the level of their poverty continues to increase.
The Republic of China is well known for having instituted a one-child per family policy back in 1979.
While the policy was effective in stemming population growth, critics argued that the side effects of the policy have created many societal problems in China today.
Despite the problems associated with China’s one-child policy, India has been working for many years now to create their own family planning legislation.
As of 2014, 11 Indian states had passed laws to restrict Indian citizens from having more than two children.
These family planning laws target politicians, both current and aspiring.
Under the policy, people running in panchayat (local government) elections can be disqualified if they have not respected the two-child policy. The idea behind the law is that ordinary citizens will look up to their local politicians and follow their family size example.
Some governments have gone a step further: there are laws in some states that create dis-incentives for non-politicians if they have more than two children.
Examples of these dis-incentives include refusal of government rights for the third, fourth and other number of children, denying health care for mothers and children, denying nutritional supplements for women pregnant with their third or higher child, jail and fines for fathers, a general decrease in social services for large families, and restrictions on government position appointment and promotion.
By interfering with the birth rate, India faces a future with severe negative population growth, a serious problem that most developed countries are trying to reverse.
With negative population growth, the number of old people receiving social services is larger than the young tax base that is paying for the social services in the country.
In this case, taxes must be increased and young people risk contributing way more than they will receive in the future.
Moreover, as a result of the African mentality and the so-called culture of having many children, such policy will be difficult to implement in Nigeria.
In fact, in the process of getting reactions on this issue, some say they have many children as a consolation to what they are going through.
The question is if such children are denied good food, quality education, they return into the society to constitute nuisance.
Come to think of it, the illiterates are the ones falling victim, it is hard to see the rich people having 10 children.
The law made in India can never be replicated in Nigeria because they will say they have constitutional rights to give birth to as many children as possible.
In one of his interviews, the chairman of the Foundation for Development and Environmental Initiative, Akin Mabogunje, called for immediate steps towards addressing the country’s fast growing population before it poses serious dangers.
Mr. Mabogunje, a professor of geography, called for increase in the uptake of family planning as one of the ways to manage the country’s population.
He said that unless the current demographic issues, especially uncontrolled birth, were addressed, the rise in population may spell doom for Nigeria.
Nigeria is projected to become the world’s third most populous nation by 2050. The country is currently ranked 8th on the global demographic ladder.
Healthcare centres are also distributing condoms to women even during health programmes.
Not that alone, some health centres that give immunisation to babies educate mothers on the number of children they should have and give them condoms to give to their husbands to guide against unwanted pregnancy.
In a chat with some women, who had gone for family planning, they said that the process was not pleasant.
One of the respondents, Mrs. Nike Okwudili, said that she went for family planning for child spacing, and that she started to bleed afterwards and that this lasted for a long time.
On educating mothers on family planning, a nurse, who did not want her name published, said that it is important for mothers to go for test before doing any type of family planning.
Other women, who spoke on the issue said that they are scared of family planning, but that they prefer the natural type which is calculating the time, when a woman will have her menstrual period.
Investigations revealed that distribution of condoms cannot stop people from having the number of children they want.
It is expedient for the government to think of another way of controlling birth rate in Nigeria.
If this is not checked as a matter of urgency, no Jupiter will be able to put an end to poverty in the land as we will continue to have more than the number of people we can cater for.
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