Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, says the federal government is working with religious and traditional leaders on ways to limit the number of children a woman can give birth to.
Speaking on Tuesday at the just concluded Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja, Ahmed said the federal government has identified population as one of the challenges of successfully implementing the Economic Growth and Recovery Plan (ERGP).
She acknowledged that after the public sector and the private sector, religious leaders are a third force in the development of Nigeria, and that the federal government has been working with them to control population growth.
“We have been engaging traditional rulers and religious leaders. Specifically, we have found out that to be able to address one of the great challenges that we identified in the ERGP, which is the growth in our population, we need to engage these institutions,” she said.
“And we hope that with their support, we will get to a point where we can come out with the policy that limits the number of children that a mother can have because that is important for sustaining our growth.
“The ERGP is not a new plan, it’s a plan that reviewed what needs assessment, what was in the vision 2020, what is in existing sector plans so because we have taken those plans and used them, the next administration will continue them, which government will not want to continue to improve the infrastructure? What we have in the ERGP are things that any government must do.”
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo also said while addressing the summit on Monday, that research has shown that Nigeria can cut childbirth by 50 percent, by simply educating the girl child.
The professor of law says the government is working on a three-pronged approach to get Nigeria’s millions of out-of-school children back to school.
According to projections by the United Nations, Nigeria’s population will exceed 300 million by 2050.
But perhaps arising from a backlash to the Minister’s comment on limiting childbirth rate per mother, the ministry of finance rushed out with a clarification. See below. The northern region of Nigeria has been particularly sensitive to any population control advocacy due to cultural and religious imperatives.