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How to make Nigeria’s population asset for prosperity – AAFP

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ABUJA – A family planning advocacy group, Association for the Advancement of Family Planning (AAFP), has appealed to all tiers of government in Nigeria to take needed actions to make the nation’s population an asset for national prosperity.

Speaking at a rally to commemorate the 2017 World Population Day on Tuesday, the National Coordinator of the group, Dr Chinwe Onumonu, urged government to increase access to family planning commodities, create job and training opportunities, and increase enrolment into schools for children and youths.

She said family planning remained one of the effective tools to achieving huge demographic dividends, and government must ensure commodities for the service are available and accessible to those who want them.

“We are creating all the necessary awareness. We are creating more awareness to the government to provide adequate responses for safe, voluntary, quality family planning services in Nigeria. We are making a difference because by virtue of what we do, we are creating access for family as a right in Nigeria,” she said.

In an exclusive interview with NHO, a member, Board of Trustees of the Association for the Advancement of Family Planning, Dr Adenike Adeyemi, said family planning remains one of the components of national growth and development, helping in child spacing and empowerment of the people.

“Today 11th of July is World Population Day. It is a day that is set aside by United Nations to commemorate the quality of world population. That is why we are here to ensure that as a nation, we commemorate this important day.

“Population is always a blessing because it means that people providing services, providing goods, buying the services and goods. If you have a small population, you are limited in your wealth and asset. But, then, population can be a burden if you do not add quality to the lives of your people. That means a population that is well-educated, a population that is employed, a population that is healthy.

“It is not about the number, it is about the quality of lives and the quality of services that we can render.”

Speaking on dividends achieved so far by the country from its huge population, she said: “It could be better. There is a lot that could be done to ensure that our children are well-educated, our youths that are better educated and are a force that are productive, and also a population that has goods and services, with the purchasing power.

“I’m not sure we are doing a good job there, we have a lot of people who are have no power financially, educationally, who have no jobs. Basically, I will say that we need to do a lot more to turn our population to an asset as a nation.”

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