Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has expressed deep concern about Nigeria’s inability to know the exact number of its population.
Obasanjo, who spoke in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, at a mentoring session for a group of youths on “Youth Governance and Dialogue” held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), also said that it is disturbing that most Nigerian children of school age are roaming the streets.
He said that if nothing is done to ensure that every Nigerian child has a quality education, the country’s insecurity situation in the future would be worse, saying that something urgent must be done to check the trend.
“There should be no Nigerian child that should be out of school for any reason. How are we talking about the state of emergency on education, how are we talking about popular education?
“You have already got your Boko Haram in the next 15 years if you don’t do anything about that. So, whatever you are talking about, unless you take care of inclusiveness, you will not get there.
“The other problem is demography. We are now 200 million in population and in about 30 years to come, we will be about 400 million.
“Some say we will be 415 million, some say we will be 450 million, whichever one, we will be the third-largest country in the world after China and India. That would present great challenges.
“It (population) can be an asset if we handle it well, but if we continue with business as usual, it will be a great calamity and a great disaster.”
We have to think about it. And those who will produce the 450 million people are already here. They have been born. So, you cannot stop them from being born.
“Those who will produce the 750 million in the year 2200 are the ones we can do something about. And again, it is important people start thinking.”