Nigeria considers legislation on birth control, as NPC gets 2015 deadline for issuance of national ID
Abuja (WorldStage Newsonline)-- The Federal Government of Nigeria is contemplating legislation to control population growth in the country.
President Goodluck Jonathan said on Tuesday that though the issue of population regulation is very sensitive, he however said government cannot fold its arm until it becomes uncontrollable.
The President who spoke at the swearing-in ceremony of the newly appointed Chairman and Commissioners of the National Population Commission held at the Presidential Villa noted that Nigeria would not be the first country to make laws on birth control and religious belief should not be a tool to frustrate good policy.
The former Managing Director of Nigeria Brewery PLC, Chief Festus Odumegwu was sworn-in as Chairman of the Commission alongside 22 of the 23 appointed Commissioners who took the oath of Office and Allegiance. The Commissioner representing Sokoto, Sen. Jubril Gada was absent at the ceremony.
In his remarks, the President assured that government would carry out enough sensitization before legislating on laws controlling birth and population.
He has also directed the new NPC team to begin advocacy on birth control, while also promising government supports and funding to ensure success.
``For us to plan properly, we must manage our population, but it is extremely sensitive we are extremely religious people; either you are a Christian or Moslem.
"Both Christians and Moslems and even traditionalist and all the other religion believe that children are God’s gifts to man so it is difficult for you to tell any Nigerian to number their children because they are gifts of God and it is not expected to reject God’s gifts.
``It is a very sensitive thing but we must begin to think about it. We must begin to think about how we manage it.
``The key thing is that how you will through your advocacy come up with plans and programmes that as a way of advocacy you begin to encourage Nigerians to have the number of children they can manage before government comes up with clear policies and guidelines.
``First and foremost is the personal consciousness that people should get the family they can manage.
``Sometimes you get to somebody's house living in a well furnished duplex. The husband and wife there may have two, three four children. The maiguard guiding them have nine children. That is the scenario you have.
``That means there is a segment of the population that knows that you must get a number that you can manage but the other segment of the population don't.
``If you are use to military barracks you see that the officers, General this, Major General this, Brigadier this, Colonel this have three, five children but those that have no rank have eight, twelve.
``This is the scenario. The people up, probably because of their level of education know that they must control thei population, but the people down, because of the level of exposure and education are still not aware that you must control your population.``So first and foremost, before government comes up with regulations, guidelines or laws, Nigerians must be made to know that we cannot continue to procreate and procreate even though we know children are God's gifts,’’ he said.
The President noted that Nigeria would not be the first country to make laws controlling population and religious belief should not be a tool to frustrate good policy.
Meanwhile, the President has also set 2015 deadline for National Population Commission (NPC) to complete the issuance of national Identity Cards to all eligible Nigerians.
According to him, a situation where government had spent lot of fund on the project without getting results is not acceptable.
He said the Commission should liaise with the Presidential Committee on the National Identity Card to ensure its prompt completion.
The President has also asked the Commission to commence the process for the 2016 National Census because of its importance to national growth.
``There cannot be genuine sustained development if it is not anchored on accurate and reliable data.
``No meaningful planning is possible without dependable data and statistics. This informs why we have chosen these distinguished men and women to run the affairs of NPC,’’ he said.
The president also charged them to demonstrate the highest standard in the discharge of their duties and warned them against primordial divisive tendencies.
He warned the Commission not to subject the sensitive issue of census figure and demographics to the expediency of cheap political advantage and political discord.
The President commended the immediate past leadership of the Commission for effective 2006 Census and charged the new members to consolidate on the achievements.
The new board has three female commissioners amongst them is Mrs Rolli George, the wife PDP chieftain, Chief Olabode George were among the 22 Commissioners.
The other women are; a journalist and former Manager of NTA Ibadan, Mrs Sheyi Olusanya representing Ogun State and a former Commissioner in Plateau State, Mrs Cecilia Dakwot representing Plateau.Others are, Mr David Danuwa (Adamawa), Mr. Moses Ekpo (Akwa Ibom), Alhaji Mohammed Hamman (Borno), Alhaji Idi Baba Yakubu (Cross River) , Dr Tunde Lakoju (Edo) and Mr Bala Mogaji (Gombe).The Commissioners also include; Mr. Nwogu Emmanuel (Imo), Alh. Mohammed Suraju (Kano), Mr.Mohammed Akuboh (Kogi), Alhaji Abubakar Ndake (Kwara), Mr. Zakare Umaru-Kifo (Nasarawa) and Chief Olalere Oyewumi (Osun)We also have; Dr. Oluremi Akogun (Ondo), Mr. Donald Wokoma (Rivers), Sen. Anguno Sunday-Zik (Taraba), Prof. Simon Chika (Anambra), Dr. Chima Uzor (Enugu), and Mr. Chris Okereke (Ebonyi).