Worried Over Population Explosion? This Federal Government Sef -By Ifeanyichukwu Mmoh

Filed under: National Issues |

‘FG worries over population explosion’ was the headline of Dailytrust of 25/10/2018. Although, I felt it should’ve rather read “FG worries over population explosion in northern Nigeria” where a certain religious fiat has become the basis for compulsory polygamy and mass production of babies without a corresponding social security network to cater for these children; creating in the process what is now referred to as the ‘Almajiri System”.

It is important to note that this worry is one anxiety that is truly timely, given the fact of how the culture of corruption and impunity has over the years hampered government’s drive for the provision of infrastructures that would boost social security and meet population needs. However, government must never delude itself that the situation would reverse or stop only after it expressed worries.

Population increase especially when there is no compensation of basic social amenities is a serious problem even in very developed and stable economies. It is a problem that is never to be treated with kid gloves and, it is a menace that easily destroyed any people especially when such countries are in disunity or torn apart by religious or tribal wars. When it brings the corresponding poverty, disease and crime to bear on that country; it would’ve been too late to unite and fight it off.

 

 

Nigeria over the past 5 decades did virtually nothing to prepare for this eventuality that now stared us in the face with defiance. In one of my previous views I titled THE ORIGIN OF ILLITERACY, DRUG ABUSE AND POVERTY IN NORTHERN NIGERIA, I had said that in a bid to dominate the polity the Late Premier of Northern Nigeria had come up with an ideology he captioned the ‘Northernization Policy’.

Among the several areas covered by that policy was the issue of population explosion. Nigeria, he told his region is an estate handed unto them by Uthman Dan Fodio and that meant the region owned the country which practically translated into majority carried the day. The issue of immunization which was dubbed a strategy to deplete the population of the region has since produced very glaring results – with over 70% of poliomyelitis-turned street urchin cases coming from the region!

History puts down population census as one of the areas that generated acrimony between the north and the south in the late 50s; it is still so today. However the interesting thing is that when the holder of power becomes tired of holding it selfishly and wants to devolve, he always assumed that everyone felt the same way as he did. My point is if government was to introduce any birth control policy, from which region will it begin? Only the calls to restructure the federation have made the north so jittery since it became a loud campaign.

So as the federal government worries over population explosion; how does it intend to address the problem? Since the comment on a birth control policy was credited to the finance minister Hajia Zainab Ahmed last week, many had reacted to it like: this federal government sef because of the controversy it sure would stir up; given the history (as I briefly noted here) behind it. It is a good policy – that is, to curtail the explosion – but then for a country that has not been able to get over the reality of her multi-ethnic and multi-religious status, the drama that this worries carried remained to be seen.

Now, why does any country need to watch population growth so closely? Very simple, so as to enable it plan properly. The effects of an untamed population could be devastating. For instance, most of us are aware of the shame in which fellow Nigerians – our own brothers and sisters – go through in the hands of those countries they fled to because of their desire to survive and make an impact in their generation.

We know the numbers that have died in the desert, the Mediterranean, in Ghana, in Libya, in Italy, in Asia and in Europe. If the country had been on the right footing from the beginning, it would not be suffering from brain drain or modern day slavery. Just imagine what goes on in the mind of the parent when he/she had to watch a child executed or thrown to jail. Such a parent normally condemns self as a failure otherwise that child would’ve turned an asset.

In addition, sometimes such a parent condemns society and its leadership or laws as the case may be. Can anyone guess what they think goes on in the mind of our political leaders as Nigerian citizens suffer xenophobic attacks in South Africa? They cared less; right? If they did care, would not have the federal government put a stop to the killings in Kaduna, Taraba, Zamfara, Plateau, Benue and Adamawa states? I know a fellow who left this country in March 2018 not because of poverty but because of security.

Nigeria is in this mess because of the miscalculations of the so-called ‘heroes past’ who created a lopsided system that encouraged population explosion without planning because it benefited the north. Leaders like ‘yours truly’ are exploiting those anomalies instead of coming out with a clear vision or ideology on how to tackle it.

The most effective means of tackling the reckless population growth will invariably involve a revisit to restructuring otherwise how do you peg a ‘2-child per family’ population control policy over the federation without first abolishing the religious fiat that encouraged polygamy? Let me conclude by saying that it was better that a birth control policy be left for the incoming Atiku/Obi presidency to tackle as this administration which rejected restructuring can not correct but would rather compound the problem.

Comrade Ifeanyichukwu Mmoh is an advocate for attitudinal change, a researcher and authored (THE ORIGIN OF IGBO MARGINALIZATION IN NIGERIA). 08062577718.

 

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