By Aisar Fagge
Population explosion can be a boost or a doom. If resources are not well managed in a country with rapid population growth, illiteracy, divisive politics, unemployment, hunger, crime, insecurity, poor standard of living will be the topics of discussion.
Dr. Musa Muhammad Bello, a community physician consultant and also a lecturer with Bayero University, Kano, mentioned this during a maiden monthly seminar organized by the Community Health Organization (CHR) in collaboration with Youth Society for the Prevention of Infectious Disease and Social Vices (YOSPIS), held on Wednesday, 20th July, 2022 at CHR’s conference room, Kano.
In his paper titled: “Rising Population and Demographic Transition: Effect on Health and Sustainable Development” Dr Bello said “If Nigeria’s population continue growing at this pace, by 2050, it will double to over 400 million. Nigeria will become the 4th largest country on Earth.”
“There is a cause for alarm because, population increase or explosion can be a boom or a doom.”
“If the population is rapidly increasing and resources are not well managed then it will greatly affect the availability of these resources across all sectors – health, water, education, security, etc. It will stretch them to the extent that majority of the population will be suffering in misery – there will be poverty, hunger, starvation, malnutrition, there will be unemployment and poor living standard.”
“All sectors of life will suffer. Take for example Kano State government’s decision to ban tricycle movement from 10 pm to 6 am is an effect of population concentration. The rate of crime has increased. Phone snatchers are everywhere. Some of us here are their victims,” The speaker lamented.
Speaking about the preparation for 2023 census in Nigeria, Dr Bello said, “Census is very important. In fact, according to a United Nations Economic Council, the population census should be done in every country every ten years. But unfortunately in Nigeria, the last census we did was in 2006. So we are far behind.”
“Census gives you the exact number of people and ther demographic structure: gender, age, education, income, location, etc. and that will be a very good tool for planning development in the country. Lack of this statistics will negatively affect the government planning.”
“When it comes to health, you first look at it from disease possession. When there is a population explosion, there is increase risk of disease. People will interact with the environment, their daily activities will pollute the environment; air pollution, water pollution and so many other things. So there is likely going to have increase in disease that are transacted through air because of over crowding,” he concluded.
One of the discussants of the paper, Musa Abdullahi Sufi argued that “Nigeria is not over populated because of its available vast resources.” He urged the academics to do more research to engage policy makers. Another discussant, Zainab Nasir Ahmed countered that “Nigeria is over populated because the resources are in the hands of few people” while majority of the population wallow in squalor.
The seminar received both physical and virtual participants ranging from academics, health workers, journalists and members of Civil Society Organizations (CSO).
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