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A professor of political science at the University of California, the United States, Kelechi Kalu, has said the increasing population in Nigeria is not the country’s problem but a lack of management of its citizens.

He made this known at the Lagos State University 5th Faculty of Social Sciences Annual International Conference held on Monday.

Kalu, who spoke on the theme, “Social Sciences and Sustainable Development in Africa” further stated that Nigeria needed to conduct a credible census to be sure of its number of citizens and thereby make proper planning for them.

He said, “Some people will say the increasing population is a problem. I don’t think it is a problem. The problem is management. First, we need a census of integrity, a credible census that tells us how many people we have as Nigerians. With that number, we can begin to plan. An educated woman is not going to have too many kids. Also, educated men are less likely to have many kids. So we need to know how many people we have to plan primary to secondary school education structure to make sure that kids go to school.

“When we are focused on learning, we will have less time to have kids, we will have less opportunity to marry young girls out to old men who don’t do anything except get them pregnant in some instances. So, it is not the population but the management of the growing population. If we conduct a census of integrity, we will know if it is a problem or not. Right now we are saying it is a problem but we don’t really know that.”

The professor also bemoaned the vast land left unused by the federal government and the migration of rural dwellers into the city.

He said, “I have travelled around this country and there are many areas that are empty. But there is a concentration of people in places like Lagos, Kano, Aba and Ibadan. What of the rural areas? Some people are moving out of the rural areas into the city. In moving out, they are creating food scarcity and not enough people are there producing food.

“We have the Fulani herdsmen creating other problems that are disturbing people from carrying out effective farming activities. It is because of the scarcity of food and medicine, that is why we begin to see overpopulation as a problem. No, it is not a problem yet. We don’t have a basis for reaching that conclusion.”

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While speaking on the importance of the theme of the conference, the academic said the array of challenges Africa is facing could not be solved by scientific methods alone, but also required the social sciences to understand its impact and propose solutions.

Professor Kingsley Agomor of Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration said the educational sector is one of the few sectors that can support, promote, and contribute to achieving all of the 17 United Nations SDGs.

He said, “Universities, in particular, are essential to achieving the SDGs because they can equip the next generation with the skills, knowledge and understanding to address sustainability challenges and opportunities and perform research that advances the sustainable development agenda.

“Universities can also provide examples and use their expertise, capabilities, and leadership to influence stakeholders to adopt and model more sustainable practices. To be effective, however, universities should be fully committed to supporting and implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

The acting Dean of the Faculty, Professor Olufemi Lawal, said the conversation was necessary to advance frontiers of knowledge in the area that could form the basis of our recommendations to the government, stakeholders and experts in the field.

He said, “Globally, development is an issue and at the core of everything. And more important than development is sustainable development. Until we take the narratives about sustainable development very seriously, the case will be that of no development at all. That is why the faculty of social sciences found it expedient to go into that conversation again.

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“Our goal is to advance frontiers of knowledge in this area that can form the basis of our recommendations to the government, stakeholders and experts in the field. This is so that our case will not be that of a blind man who desires to see but lacks vision.”

Source: PUNCH

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