August 13, 2003

Nigeria promises to initiate population control policy

Nigeria promises to initiate population control policy

ABUJA, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- The House of Representatives' Committee on Population has promised to initiate a policy that will ensure a balance between population growth and available resources.

Speaking at the inauguration of the committee in the capital Abuja Tuesday, Bashir Adamu, chairman of the committee, said that the prevailing high population growth in the country had put much stress on the existing infrastructure.

Nigeria's current annual population growth rate is 2.98 percent.

"At the current annual growth rate," he said, "Nigeria's population will increase in 24 years to more than 200 million people."

Adamu assured the National Population Commission (NPC) of the committee's support in the conduct of the next head count.

Adequate financial provision for the exercise would be made in the next supplementary budget, he said.

In his address, NPC Chairman Sama'ila Makama said the commission would conduct a census in 2005.

According to him, the result of the exercise will be ready by 2006 to enable the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to delineate constituencies for the 2007 general elections.

Makama appealed to the National Assembly to ensure adequate funding for the census, noting that both the legislative and executive arms of government had responsibility over it.

House Speaker Aminu Masari charged the commission to learn from the experience of the 1991 census in preparing for the coming headcount.

The commission, he advised, should embark on the enlightenment of the people on the importance of the exercise.

Nigeria, one of the poorest countries in the world with its per- capita gross domestic product of no more than 385 US dollars in 2002, is the most populous country in Africa with a population of over 126 million.