President Goodluck Jonathan has called on Africa’s most populous nation to check indiscriminate procreation, and has hinted that a bill that would ensure the implementation of birth control in Nigeria could be in the works.Jonathan, who spoke at a swearing-in ceremony for the newly appointed Chairman and Commissioners of the National Population Commission at the Presidential Villa, said that government could no longer afford to turn a blind eye as the nation’s population grows unchecked.
The President is urging Nigerians to only have as many children as they can “afford” to care for. The Nigerian government has only attempt to control birth in the country once before, during the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida, who set forth a decree that a woman may not have more than four children.
The police was met with widespread resistance from a range of people in society. President Jonathan expect to meet resistance as well, anticipating a religious backlash, but he warns Nigerians against shunning the bill on religious grounds alone.
He admitted that Nigerians of various faiths believe strongly that children are God’s gifts to man, “so it is difficult for you to tell any Nigerian to limit the number of their children”.
Still he insisted that in order for the country “to plan properly, we must manage our population.”
Jonathan said family planning is often lacking amongst the uneducated in the society. He gives this example:
“Sometimes you get to somebody’s house, living in a well furnished duplex. The husband and wife there may have two, three, four children. The mayguard (gate keeper) guarding them will have nine children”.
The President said the law will be preceded by a period of public sensitization, when the benefits of birth control are shared with the public.