In the New York Times recently, there was a story about Nigeria’s ongoing population explosion and the terrible consequences that are flowing from it. According to the headlines, Nigeria is being “tested” by its rapid population growth and it is seen as a “preview of an overcrowded planet”. This population explosion will see Nigeria grow to 300 million people in the next quarter-century and this is, according to the New York Times , a bad thing. It will further depress living standards, put pressure on infrastructure, hospitals, schools, housing, increase unemployment and drive these unemployed youths into the arms of the radical Islamist group Boko Haram. That’s not all though – a rising Nigerian population won’t just affect some country over there that most of us can’t place on a map – it will also affect us all:
“Nigeria, already the world’s sixth most populous nation with 167 million people, is a crucial test case, since its success or failure at bringing down birthrates will have outsize influence on the world’s population. If this large nation rich with oil cannot control its growth, what hope is there for the many smaller, poorer countries?…Internationally, the African population boom means more illegal immigration, already at a high, according to Frontex, the European border agency. There are up to 400,000 undocumented Africans in the United States.”
That’s surely alarming for the average reader of the New York Times – a larger Nigeria means more people on the planet and potentially more illegal immigrants! That could even directly affect people in Manhattan! Something must be done about this looming catastrophe!
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At least the New York Times reader can take some solace from the fact that some in the article are talking tough about what needs to be done and the size of the problem:
“‘Population is key,’ said Peter Ogunjuyigbe, a demographer at Obafemi Awolowo University in the small central city of Ile-Ife. ‘If you don’t take care of population, schools can’t cope, hospitals can’t cope, there’s not enough housing — there’s nothing you can do to have economic development.’”
That’s right! Doesn’t Nigeria understand this? Fewer people means you don’t have to provide services for them = problem solved! But obviously Nigeria doesn’t realise this:
“The Nigerian government is rapidly building infrastructure but cannot keep up, and some experts worry that it, and other African nations, will not act forcefully enough to rein in population growth. For two decades, the Nigerian government has recommended that families limit themselves to four children, with little effect.”
Recommended? What do you think that will accomplish? Recommendations never solved anything! They need to be more forceful! They are the government after all – they can make people have fewer children! Don’t they realise the fact that children are nothing but a burden!?
“As Nigeria urbanizes, children’s help is not needed in fields; the extended families have broken down. ‘Children were seen as a kind of insurance for the future; now they are a liability for life,’ [Dr. Ogunjuyigbe] said.”
That’s right, a liability for life. That is how right-thinking Nigerians should be thinking! The good doctor has it absolutely correct. Just like this man:
“Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the United Nations Population Fund and a former Nigerian health minister, said he is optimistic for a turnaround if governments better support education for girls and contraceptive services. ‘We can see rapid changes, but that’s up in the air, because you have to be aggressive and consistent.’”
The time for passivity is over. If people will not agree with contraceptive services, it is up to the Governments to be aggressive. Forceful, consistent and aggressive. Action consisting of mere recommendation and persuasion is not enough to divert this calamity. Governments need to adopt stronger measures, for the sake of future generations, not only in New York, but also in Nigeria.
I think that it is time that we turn, as we have so often done in the past, to the wisdom of that country which knows how to deal with overpopulation. No, I don’t mean China. But you’re geographically close. I am, of course, talking about Uzbekistan and the measures it’s taken to control the population. Simple, effective, forceful, aggressive and consistent – the Nigerian government could learn a lot from Uzbekistan. If only sub-Saharan countries would adopt Uzbekistan’s measures then I could sleep more peacefully at night knowing that the world was not about to be overrun by hordes of illegal immigrants. Oh, and I’d be happy to know that everyone would be nice and contended and prosperous in Nigeria…or wherever. If only people could see sense.
This article was originally published on MercatorNet.com under a Creative Commons Licence.