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Nigeria's Population Growth Rate; A Ticking Time Bomb. by TedBen24(m): 7:43pm On Jan 06, 2019
For any country to sustain growth and development, her population growth matrix must level up with her development plan and structure, economic strength and resources. A growing population without a support structure is a death trap. Take for example, from 2010 to 2018, France has only grown her population by about 3 million. From 64 to about 67 Million people. France has less human capital than Nigeria, less resources but is still richer than Nigeria. Canada has maintained a steady minimal growth rate for over ten years with a very stable and viable economy. Even in economically and politically stable countries like France and Canada, their growth rate is controlled and the projected growth rate is planned and prepared for. Nigeria with all her many issues has an alarming growth rate. We were about 150 million people in 2011, today we are about 190 to 200 million people. We don't even have an exact number.

About 40 million plus more people have been born in Nigeria in the last 7 years meanwhile a developed economy like France had only grown by about 3 million more people. We have an amazing birth rate. This means more people are being born into hunger, a life expectancy that haven't improved much, no education, very terrible primary health care, high illiteracy level, no jobs, pollution, poor infrastructure, no electricity. When you talk about growth and development in Nigeria and Africa. What are your yardsticks and parameters? Are you talking quality of life, life expectancy, literacy level, infrastructure, health care, access to information, power, GDP etc or are you just talking numbers and revenue?

When your population grows without control, without a plan and structure to support that growth, you are headed for a population crisis. Besides the issue of poverty and hunger, we have a large chunk of young people not contributing to our growth and development as a nation because they are not equipped with the skill sets to fend for themselves or effectively compete. Nigeria's growth rate is a ticking time bomb trust me. We really need to slow down. 40 million people in 7 years is no joke, that’s the size of some countries. We don’t have a strategic development plan and structure to sustain this growth rate. It may sound far fetched now but soon we will all be in a mess.

We have over 5 million fresh graduates without jobs in the last 3 to 5 years , 29 million young people are unemployed, over 120 million Nigerians live in abject poverty, about 40 million children bellow 14 years with no access to basic pre-primary and primary education, our tertiary institutions can’t even accommodate the amount of people ready to go to school, we have little or no electricity, very low internet penetration, a very corrupt political and public sector. How can you support growth with all these challenges? Yes it seems Nigeria is the world’s most populous black nation but to what end? How many people in Nigeria actually have purchasing power to support that claim. It seems like the elite keeps stealing and gathering for their generations unborn while the larger chunk of the masses are left scrambling for crumbs. Why won’t there be crime.

We have absolutely no enforced policy on sustaining and safeguarding our environment. Our environment is been degraded every single day with poor drainage, poor waste management, erosion, carbon emissions, deforestation, indiscriminate building, climate change, desertification etc. Gas flaring in particular remains a major issue in Nigeria; destroying our environment and costing us so much money. We have a policy that actually encourages gas flaring rather than eliminate it. To prevent companies from flaring, Nigeria makes oil companies pay N10 per 1000 SCF (Standard Cubic Feet) of gas flared with plans to increase it to $3.50 (1095 Naira) You can imagine. Rather than expensively process gas for domestic and other uses, major oil companies resort to the cheaper option of flaring gas as waste product.

In trying to make it a more expensive option, the law sought to fine companies for flaring but the money to be paid was coined as a “charge” rather than a “penalty,” international oil companies continue to flare while paying the charges which are tax deductible rather than hefty fines as intended. “Just that one word has potentially cost us billions of dollars,” Kemi Adeosun, Nigeria’s finance minister has said. Oil companies in Nigeria flare over 313 million standard cubic feet of gas annually, according to satellite data estimates from Nigeria’s environment ministry. The flared gas in turn results in the emission of 16.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. Adeosun says the government is now looking to amend the wording of the law.

We use energy sources that are not renewable and environmentally friendly, we are constantly depleting our crude oil reserves. At a production rate of 2 million barrels per day which is an estimated value and I can categorically tell you we produce more, it will take Nigeria less than 50 years to deplete our crude oil reserve. In 2011, it was estimated that our crude oil reserve was around 37.2 billion barrels. Do the mathematics. At two million barrels per day, it will take 51 years to exhaust our reserve. What happens after that? I am very certain that we do up to 1 billion barrels of crude yearly if we include what is bunkered and the fact that our wells are not metered. It is no news that we have a mono economy driven only by the sale of crude oil in foreign markets, we export virtually nothing. And yes a lot of the crude oil we produce is bunkered legally by elites and top politicians guarded by our nation’s navy and military, our oil wells are not even metered so we can’t really ascertain the exact amount of crude we produce daily which is deliberate by the way. It is the blatant truth.

It is time Nigeria stops dancing in the euphoria of being Africa’s most populous nation and start thinking strategically on how to reposition herself to accommodate her growth rate. India as a country is even almost as populous as the African continent but she has managed to turn her population into man power that is servicing the entire world in Medicine, Telecommunications, ICT, Engineering, Space Technology and the Internet. We shouldn’t expect less from Nigeria. We shouldn’t have double standards because we are Africans. Rwanda is doing amazingly great. Rwanda is a clear example of what Africa can achieve if we put in the work and if we are sincere and honest.

Building human capacity, investing in education, taking care of our environment, diversifying our economy and fostering peaceful coexistence amongst our many tribes and tongues is key for Nigeria, if we don’t , we will experience a human crisis that we may not survive. The growth rates and statistics are already scary. The tension across religious, ethnic and political divides is quite alarming. We are living in the shadow of a looming time bomb. We can already see the effects of our actions and inactions; Boko Haram, the steady flooding in Lagos and other parts of Nigeria, the soot in Port Harcourt, Fulani herds men, the excessive heat we get from the sun, the high crime rate, inflation etc. I can go on and on. If nothing is done, we will self-destruct. We keep depleting our resources while our population keeps skyrocketing. Government and politicians on the other hand keep wasting our money and looting our treasury. So very soon, we will have too many people scrambling for what is left. We are already seeing the signs.

It is now a matter of responsibility and urgency for every Nigerian to take initiative about our dear native land. We can’t at this point say we don’t care. The end is near and one day if we decide to be docile, passive and dormant, we will have no place to call a country. The signs are very visible. We should start by participating in the forthcoming elections. Get your PVCs, go out to vote, start taking initiative, mobilize and strategize concerning challenges you face in your local communities. Do something! I can only do the little I can but we can do so much collectively. Don’t just read, share and start taking initiative today.

Ted Ben is a Speaker, Writer, Disruptor, Futurist and Social Reformer.

1 Like

Re: Nigeria's Population Growth Rate; A Ticking Time Bomb. by osualanobleson: 12:40pm On Jan 07, 2019
The honest truth I feel within for a significant change in this country is a government with a drive to make public offices "less juicy". A wonder why a house of assembly member who has never made any productive bill proposal in the house in his 8years should be earning more than my professor in the University who has worked so much to invest knowledge. Until public servants are placed on the same salary scale with the civil servants, I can't see us making headways in this country. Because that's only when the right minds would be able to go there for real service and not for the juicy packages.
Re: Nigeria's Population Growth Rate; A Ticking Time Bomb. by TedBen24(m): 3:40pm On Jan 07, 2019
I agree with you my brother. Sometimes I find it hard to believe Nigeria will ever get better. We have a failed and failing structure yet we refuse to do anything about it. It is a very sad situation.

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