The world’s most populous black nation — Nigeria — now has an estimated population of 182 million, half of whom are young and in need of jobs.
At this rate, Nigeria has the world’s seventh largest and fastest growing population among the world’s ten most populous countries.
Bloomberg quoted the Director General of Nigeria’s National Population Commission, Mr Ghaji Bello, as saying that the latest estimate is based on the population of 140 million which was recorded about ten years ago during the country’s last census.
According to Bello, an annual growth rate of 3.5% was deduced based on variables such as rising life expectancy rate and a steadily declining infant mortality rate.
The growing youthful population is putting a strain on a struggling economy
Nigerians within the age of fourteen are said to account for some forty percent (40%) of the population. These are school-aged children whose teaming presence is putting a greater demand on Nigeria to provide health and educational facilities.
Unfortunately, the country is struggling to do this, no thanks to an ailing economy and the lack of political will by those in power to take decisive action.
But there are some prospects with this youthful population
According to the Director General of the National Population Commission, Nigeria’s youthful population are assets inasmuch as they are liabilities. He said Government must quickly figure out a way to ensure that the youths become gainfully employed adults in the nearest future.
This is imperative, considering that much of the country’s young graduates are either completely unemployed or underemployed.
“The implication is that they’re assets, they’re the future of our country. But they’re also liabilities.
“We need to know how to plan for their transition from youths to the next category. It has implications for education, health, and security, particularly in our environment where you have a lot of employment.” -Bello
A future census in the nearest future…
Mr Bello said that he is hopeful that the Government will soon fix a new date for a national census. Earlier plans to hold one in 2018 was delayed by the toppling of the previous administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Meanwhile, in a bid to ensure that figures obtained from any future census are accurate, Bello said that several measures are being put in place.