Paul Arkwright, UK high commissioner to Nigeria, said Tuesday that Nigeria’s increasing population could be a big disaster to the country if not checked.
The UK envoy said this at an event organised by the African Peace Building Network of the Social Science Research Council and African Leadership Centre of the Kings College London in Abuja.
Arkwright said Nigeria’s demography should be taken seriously and guided properly as it could reach about 900 million soon, and at that point, many citizens in the country would not have electricity, while many will stay without jobs and education.
In his words, “the biggest threat for Nigeria is around the demographic. Everyone talks about the demographic dividend and I firmly believe that is a possibility but there is a scenario of a demographic disaster.”
“And that is a scenario where a large number of young people, young children even more than currently are out of school, and where girls do not get the education they deserve.
“It is a scenario where the current birth rate continues at six to seven children per woman.
“And that is a scenario where there are not 450 million Nigerians by 2050 but 900 million Nigerians by the end of the century who may not have enough to eat and may not have power or jobs and if peace building is looking into the future, the long term, I think this issue of demography should be looked at.”
He said the UK is working to ensure good governance in Nigeria.
“Some of the areas we are focusing on here in Nigeria are around good governance, around anti-corruption, economic prosperity and how do we improve the business environment. They are around insecurity,” Arkwright said.