The Commissioner representing Federal Capital Territory, (FCT) in the National Population Commission (NPC), Dr. Daniel Aliyu Kwali, has revealed that FCT, by the Commission’s estimates, is now the fourth most populous city in the country. According to him, FCT comes after Lagos, Kano and Ibadan.
He lamented that, of these three, FCT boasts the highest growth rate – at 7.1 percent, which forebodes an imminent overtake of these cities.
The NPC Commissioner made this disclosure when he paid an advocacy visit to the FCT Administration on Wednesday, July 4, 2018, to drum support for the forthcoming Word Population Day, scheduled for 11th July 2018.
He disclosed that the theme for the one wee event is “Family planning is a Human Right.” UN according to him, has advised that family planning should be exercised responsibly.
In a wake-up call to Nigerians, the population Commissioner revealed that Nigeria’s population is estimated to hit 450million by 2050, meaning, it would surpass the US, whose current population is estimated at 326million. Dr. Aliyu Kwali illustrated that this would mean squeezing 450million people in a space that is approximately twice the land area of California, only one of the 50 states of America.
He called on Nigerians in general and FCT residents in particular, to take the issues of birth control and birth spacing seriously. He stated that getting correct population estimates of FCT has been fraught with problems because of its peculiar growth patterns as well as the huge dichotomy between the resident population and transient population – people who work in Abuja but leave the city every day. These people he also noted, put pressure on FCT facilities and often travel to their hometown during census periods.
FCT Minister, Muhammad Musa Bello, who was represented in the occasion by the FCT Permanent Secretary, Sir Chiyeaka Ohaa, re-echoed the concern of the great economist, Adam Smith about the dangers of population outstripping natural resources. According to him the absence of reliable population estimate, denies FCT the necessary data to convince legislators for adequate budgetary provisions for FCT.
He stated that raising a child without making plans for them easily predispose the child to crime and deviant behaviours. He called on NPC officials to take the message of responsible family sizes to the grassroots, especially through the pastors and imams.
He noted that FCT as an emerging city is witnessing the type of population increase that is very unusual for cities of its kind. He called for a concerted efforts to tackle the challenge in order to come to terms with the need to for effective planning.
He pledge the cooperation of the FCT Administration with the NPC to enable it performs it mandate in the FCT.
“We would do everything within the ambit of the law to give the Commission all the necessary support it needs.”