The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo has said the Federal government should urgently build an economy that will support the country’s fast-growing population in other to avoid a “time bomb scenario,” News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports.
He made the call while speaking at the Religious Leaders’ Consultative Forum on ‘Harnessing Demographic Dividend for Sustainable Development in Nigeria: The Role of Muslim Religious Leaders’ on Thursday in Abuja.
Osinbajo said the relevant demographics showed the prospects and potential of a prosperous future for Nigeria if appropriate and timely actions were in place.
He said Nigeria’s population size was currently estimated at over 198 million, the largest in Africa.
Osinbajo stated that no fewer than 63 per cent of the population was under the age of 25 years, 33 per cent between 10 years and 24 years, and 54.8 per cent of working age between 15 years and 64 years.
He said 51 per cent of the female population was in their reproductive ages-15 years to 49 years.
“Of course, the reverse side of Nigeria’s rich demographic potential is the much-talked-about ‘population time bomb,’ or as some would say demographic threats.
“Total Fertility Rate (TFR) has remained high over the last three decades and currently stand at 5.5 births per woman; modern Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPRm) is very low at 10 per cent with 16 per cent unmet need for Family Planning (FP).
“Twenty-three percent of our adolescents (ages 15-19 years) have commenced childbearing and Child Marriage still persists at 18 percent.
“These figures vary across the North and the South, for example, TFR is lowest in the South West (4.5) and highest in the North East (6.3) and North West (6.7), respectively with Bauchi at 8.1 and Sokoto at 7.0.
“To avoid the time-bomb scenario, we must act with urgency to build an economy that can support that population, provide jobs and economic opportunity, education, and healthcare, hope and optimism,’’ he said.