Nigeria adopts new population policy to improve quality of life

Nigeria adopts new population policy to improve quality of life

ABUJA, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) — Nigeria has adopted a new population policy which it said would improve the quality of life and standard of living of Nigerians.

After a Federal Executive Council meeting in the capital Abuja on Wednesday, Nigerian Minister of Health Eyitayo Lambo said the policy would replace the 1988 national population policy under which each couple was encouraged to have four children or more.

The 1988 population policy resulted in an increasing population growth rate over the past more than 10 years to reach 3 percent in 2003 in the country.

Nigeria, the most populous African country, now has an estimated population of over 138 million.

The health minister said the target for the 2004 policy was to ensure that Nigeria’s population growth rate was reduced from the current 3 percent per annum by 2015.

Lambo said there was need to cut down population growth rate as it had become evident that without effective control, Nigeria’s population would hit 400 million in the next 21 years.

On how the government would check population surge, Lambo said the use of modern contraceptives would be promoted.

Lambo said the new policy would also encourage Nigerians on the need to have the number of children they could cater for, since there was no ceiling on the number of children per couple in the new policy.

To ensure effective implementation, Lambo said a National Population Council which is chaired by President Olusegun Obasanjo had been set up.

Members of the council include representatives of the National Assembly, the National Planning Commission, Armed Forces, the Police as well as Ministers of Finance, Health, Education, Information, Agriculture, Labor, Environment, Works, Housing, Women Affairs, Justice, Internal Affairs, Science and Technology and Sports.