Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Population Control in Nigeria: Implications for Librarians

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Population Control in Nigeria: Implications for Librarians

Article excerpt


Population is a group composed of all members of the same species that live in a specific geographical area at a particular point in time. It could be drawn from the above statement that human population, the focus of this paper, is a group of people that live in specific geographical areas of the world at a particular time. Geographical areas in this context refer to countries, for example USA, Great Britain, Nigeria, etc. The rate of population growth differs from one country to the other. From the 1900's to 1950's, Nigeria's population was not an issue because even though Nigeria's birth rate was high, death rate was also high which balanced the population. But since after the civil war, Nigeria's medicare has improved and women and child mortality has drastically declined. There is now a condition of high birth rate and declining death rate which has contributed to what is known as population explosion. This is as a result of the fact that they have not changed their cultural life style (in marrying more than one wife) nor reduced the number of children they were having.

Nigeria as a nation is witnessing population explosion at an alarming rate, and if nothing is done to address the situation, the nation will be heading for chaos. Overpopulation has an adverse effect on the economy of any nation especially developing countries, and on the social, economic and psychological life of its citizens. The population question in Nigeria according to Ottong, Ering and Akpan (2012) has been of some concern to demographers, development planners, and even government agents. Adewole (2012) is of the view that population growth affects economic development in two ways: by promoting economic development, and this occurs in developed economies like USA, Great Britain, Germany etc, and by retarding economic development and this occurs in developing countries like Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe, etc. According to United Nations Publication (2010), Nigeria's population is 167 million people and it has the 3rd highest population in the world. It is estimated that in twenty-five years it will rise to 300 million. This is the current size of USA in a land area only double the size of California (United Nations, 2015).

Population growth is normally influenced by three main factors namely- birth, death and migration. Population is important in any society because the growth rate has implications for the country, state, town, city, and even the village. (Adesina, Oribaber and Ehindero, 2005).Unfortunately, in Nigeria, there are no records that will enable the Nigerian Population Commission to ascertain the exact population of Nigeria or aid them to project the population. Some population experts are optimistic that Nigeria's population is well above the 167 million that was recorded in the 2006 census. The Director-General of the NPC Mr. Jamin Zuberman has this to say about the problem of insufficient records for population projection in Nigeria;

"Projections are things you can do even beyond 2016. If you have a growth rate and a base population, you can even calculate for the next 100 years. But there no exact records on birth rate, death rate and population of Nigeria. I have to do some calculations to get projections" (Olokor, 2012)

Causes of over population

It has already been stated in this work that due to improved medicare in Nigeria since the 1960's birthrate has far outweighed death rate, thereby causing population explosion. But this is not the only cause of increase in population, other factors are:

Cultural values/beliefs: In many cultures in Nigeria a man is rated and respected based on the number of children he has notwithstanding if he has the resources to take care of them. Also in rural communities in Nigeria children are regarded as source of labour in the home and farm. So, the more children a man has the more helpers he has to take care of his domestic and farm work. In the Nigerian society male offspring's are more highly valued than females for a variety of reasons which leads to the common practice of continuous child birth in an attempt to have male children. …

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