Overpopulation not Nigeria problem — Onaiyekan
The Archbishop of the Catholic Diocese of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, has disclosed that overpopulation is not the challenge Nigeria is facing but that the citizens are not properly managed.
The cleric made this submission while speaking with newsmen at a round table engagement with traditional and interfaith leaders in advocating for partnership to improve human capital development through girl child education, in Abuja on Wednesday.
Onaiyekan stated further that should reflect religion, noting, if census can reflect tribe and place of birth, he sees no reason why it shouldn’t reflect religion.
He opined that religion is significant to the well-being of Nigerians.
Onaiyekan said, “Our country has always been reluctant in reflecting religion in our census. I am one of those who believe that religion is an important aspect of our life in this country, and to do a census without reflecting it means we are closing our eyes to an important reality. If it reflects tribe and place of birth, it should reflect religion.”
While hailing President Muhammadu Buhari for postponing the census, the Prelate called on the incoming administration to conduct the census properly.
He said, “We don’t have too many people in Nigeria, even if we are 250 million we are not too many. Our problem is not that we have too many human beings, it is that the human beings are not properly looked after and managed.
“Census should be a regular thing and should be done properly. The only thing is that the time fixed for the census was a bad timing and I think President Muhammadu Buhari did well to postpone it. So the incoming administration should make sure it is done properly as plans have already started and have continued.”
Also speaking, Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Muhammad Samaila Mera, said it was important that census should be conducted in a conducive climate.
He said, “census is very important, you can’t plan anything without knowing who you are planning it for. Census is important for everything we do but I think we should do it in a climate that’s conducive.”
The Chairman, National Population Commission, Nasir Isa-Kwarra, while speaking at the even, emphasized the importance of having girl child education to a minimum of at least secondary education, according to him, will improve the quality and standard of living.
“When we educate girls, the whole nation will be educated; the quality and standards of living of everyone will improve, our society and communities will be well organized and experience progress and enjoy peace; women will stop dying through pregnancy and child bearing because they will marry and start having children when they become psychologically, physically and emotionally matured and prepared for that assignment and responsibility” he said.