Nigeria’s high fertility rate is associated with increased insecurity, banditry, underemployment, and maternal and infant mortality in the country, experts have said.
Nigeria’s fertility rate, which is said to be 5.3 births per woman, is one of the highest in the world.
The fertility rate is the number of children born alive to women during the year as a proportion of the average annual population of women of the same age.
The Chairman of the Association for the Advancement of Family Planning, Dr Ejike Orji, said the growing youth population encouraged insecurity in the country.
“We have this youthful bulge where 72 per cent of the population is under the age of 30. They don’t have jobs, so they can easily be recruited as bandits, kidnappers, religious bigots, ethnic bigots and unscrupulous politicians.
“That is why we have this very terrible insecurity that we have in the country right now, and we have 18.5 million out-of-school children. After that, you see a high level of emigration because young people are finding Nigeria very uncomfortable, and both skilled and unskilled are leaving the country.
“Then, you have armed robbers, kidnappers, and bandits killing people all over the country,” Orji said.
Also, the President of the Association for Reproductive and Family Health, Prof Oladapo Ladipo, said the negative effects of overpopulation were expressed in different ways, including insecurity.
He said, “When you have the nexus of overpopulation, underemployment, inequity, what you have is a growth of radicalism and banditry, and that is what we have now.
“What you need is qualitative reproduction, not quantitative reproduction. Have the number of children you can cater to and bring up in a healthy environment, and provide resources for their education.
“But what we have now is reckless reproduction, and that is why we have so many almajiris. We have many people with certificates but no jobs.
“The government itself is overwhelmed by the population. The number of bed spaces is not enough for the population. The number of institutions is not enough for the youths that are growing up,” he added.
The experts, however, said with free maternal health services and an increase in family planning, funding would reduce the high fertility rate and maternal mortality.
Nigeria’s maternal mortality rate is still among the highest in the world, with an estimated 512 deaths per 100,000 live births, making the country far from achieving the Sustainable Development Goal target of reducing the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births.
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