The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, has stated that the Federal Government was working hard with with religious and traditional leaders to come out with a policy that would limit the number of children that a mother could have in Nigeria.
According to projections by the United Nations, Nigeria’s population will exceed 300 million by 2050.
Speaking on Tuesday at the just-concluded Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja, Ahmed pointed out that the federal government has identified population as one of the challenges of successfully implementing the Economic Growth and Recovery Plan, ERGP.
She observed that religious leaders are a third force in the development of Nigeria, and that the federal government has been working with them to control population growth.
According to her, “We have been engaging traditional, religious rulers and other leaders. Specifically, we have found out that to be able to address one of the great challenges that we identified in the ERGP, which is the growth in our population, we need to engage these institutions.
“And we hope that with their support, we will get to a point where we can come out with the policy that limits the number of children that a mother can have because that is important for sustaining our growth.
“The ERGP is not a new plan, it’s a plan that reviewed what needs assessment, what was in the vision 2020, what is in existing sector plans so because we have taken those plans and used them, the next administration will continue them, which government will not want to continue to improve the infrastructure? What we have in the ERGP are things that any government must do.”
But hours after this news broke, the minister has denied saying that the Federal Government was going to put a cap on the number of children that a woman could have, stressing that the only plan that the government has was to encourage traditional and religious leaders to talk to their members about child spacing.
On her Twitter handle, @ZShamsuna on Wednesday, Ahmed said, “The federal government has been engaging critical stakeholders like traditional and religious leaders to advise their members on child spacing. We never said we are placing a cap on childbirth. What is child spacing? This is a healthy practice of waiting between pregnancies.”