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The Director General of Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Dr Muhtari Aminu-Kano, said on Thursday that several people depend on the environment for their livelihood, hence the need to check overpopulation to live in harmony with nature.

He spoke in Lagos, at an event to commemorate the World Population Day tagged ‘Population and Sustainability in Nigeria and beyond’ organised by the NCF.

The event was organised in collaboration with Population Matters, a UK-based charity and
also supported by the Lagos State Government.

It attracted several stakeholders who said Nigeria was having an accelerated population growth, putting pressure on the environment.

Aminu-Kano said, “Our message is to tell people to really see the sense of urgency, to forget this complacency, this attitude that we can continue to multiply and God will take care of everything.

“God has given us the resources, the brains and everything for us to manage our lives, so lets not put the blame on God.

“It is up to us to manage our environment.

“So, we understand that population is a driver of poor environment and we have to do something about it.”

He called on governments in Nigeria to reduce poverty, encourage family planning, educate youths and the girl-child to prevent to early marriage, in a bid to reduce pressure on the environment.

Mrs Bimbola Salu-Hundeyin, the Federal Commissioner, National Population Commission, represented by Mrs Samiat Lawal, a Deputy Director of the Commission in Lagos called for increased investment in family planning and education.

She called for sustainable human population, to protect nature and improve people’s lives and life expectancy.

Mr Abiodun Bamgbose, Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of the Environment stressed the need for attitudinal change to the issues of population escalation and environmental degradation.

According to Bamgbose, Lagos has only 0.3 per cent of the landmass in Nigeria, and its total landmass is further depleted by 22 per cent which is occupied by water.

He said that the state was also overburdened by huge daily migration.

The Permanent Secretary called for industrialisation of rural communities to curb migration to city centres.

He lamented that the state had lost 28 out of its 30 wetlands and was suffering the impact.

He, however, said that the state was deploying technology to cope with its current status of a mega and smart city.

Other speakers stressed the need to involve religious institutions in helping governments to change cultural orientations toward population control and prevention of environmental degradation.

They pointed out that Nigeria had the lowest of only 12 per cent compliance to scientific contraceptive use for birth control.

Some speakers stressed the need for the nation to improve its statistics, looking at examples from other African and Asian countries.

Also, some stakeholders said that global population was growing by one billion people annually while available land mass was shrinking due to human activities, putting pressure natural resources causing ocean encroachment, desertification, and compounding other effects of climate change.

The stakeholders, quoting United Nations statistics, said that by 2050 the global population will be 9.7 billion with Nigerian population accounting for more than 400 million people.

They also advised developed nations to cut down on their high consumption patterns increasing carbon emissions, as well as support smaller nations to deal with population escalation increasing environmental hazards.

Edited by Oluwole Sogunle

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