Nigeria’s government is considering placing a cap on the number of children parents could have.
The move was aimed at addressing one of the “great challenges” in the economic recovery and growth plan (ERGP) of the country, local media the Punch reported.
The move was disclosed by the country’s Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed. She was addressing the 24th Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja.
The current population of Nigeria is over 190 million based on the latest United Nations estimates. Nigeria’s population is equivalent to 2.57 percent of the total world population which stands at over 7.6 billion.
Population growth crisis
Ahmed said the Nigerian government identified the country’s growing population as one of the great challenges facing the successful implementation of the ERGP.
She is quoted by the PUNCH as saying that “We have been engaging traditional rulers and other leaders. Specifically, we have found out that to be able to address one of the great challenges that we identified in the ERGP, which is the growth in our population, we need to engage these institutions.
“And we hope that with their support, we will get to a point where we can come out with the policy that limits the number of children that a mother can have because that is important for sustaining our growth,” Ahmed said.
Following the Ghana example
The move by Nigeria comes months after population experts in Ghana warned of dire consequences for the country’s growth if families are not made to have leaner family size.
That means couples would have to give birth to just a few children. A number they can effectively cater for as the population reaches 29 million with a birth growth rate of 2.5 per cent every year.
Ghana’s current population of 29 million according to Ghana statistical service officials is an increase from 24 million in 2010.
It’s not the population figure that worries Ghanaian officials but the lack of resources to cater for them. It has forced the country’s national population council to launch a campaign for families to reduce the number of children they give birth to.
In most African societies, giving birth to more children is considered honorable although many families are unable to cater for them.