By: Joy Odor/Kaduna
The United States Deputy Chief of Mission in Nigeria, Mr. David Young has charged Nigeria Government to gear up with the challenges of population explosion by the year 2050 that will double to 400 million.
He expresses concern that the huge population if not properly handled, will create more problems than opportunities for the country in future.
He made the observation during an interactive forum with members of the Sir Kashim Ibrahim Fellows held at Government House in the Kaduna state capital.
In his remarks, the US Envoy expressed concern that Nigeria’s projected 400 million populations by the year 2050, may come without commensurate amenities and human capital to sustain it, and therefore, will become a challenge than an opportunity for the country.
On the way forward, he said government must focus attention to human capital development, health, education and curbing corruption to the barest minimum.
“We are in Kaduna to speak to young people who are the future leaders of the country. As we have discussed, the challenge in 2050 for Nigeria are both opportunities and challenges particularly with the great population that is coming. By 2050, Nigeria will have over 400 million people.
“I think it’s very important to have these challenges, investing in the people, the leaders of the future is really important. I think all Nigerians recognize that addressing the issue of corruption is very important to be able to free up the funds to be able to invest in education, health for the future leaders of this country” US Envoy said.
Speaking on the issue, Governor Nasir El-rufai said his administration in Kaduna state was mindful of the rising population growth, hence it had started introducing sustainable development programmes and policies that are geared towards developing human capital and infrastructure.
“I think the leadership of the country is aware, I can only speak for Kaduna state. As the Ambassador pointed out, what is important in taking advantage in this demographic explosion is investment in human capital, investment in education and healthcare.
“And we are doing that in Kaduna state. Part of the reason why we took some very difficult decisions to improve public education at the primary and secondary school levels, is for that reason. There is nothing bad about having a huge population provided that the population is educated, healthy and productive .
“China is doing very well despite its huge population. So, we don’t see it as a problem, provided we do the right thing. And in Kaduna state we are doing the right thing” He stresses.