Nigeria’s population might hit 223.3 million by 2020, according to a projection by the National Population Commission (NPC).
The commission also hinted that the population of those aged between 10 and 24 have reached 60.4 million going by its latest records.
Chairman of NPC, Chief Eze Duruiheoma, SAN, who made this known in an address on Friday to commemorate the 2014 World Population Day, in Akure, Ondo State, said the nation’s youth population was put at 44.4 million or 33.1 per cent of total population at the end of the 2006 Census exercise.
Represented by the Ondo State NPC commissioner, Dr. Oluremi Akinbobola, Duruiheoma projected Nigeria’s youth population to climb up to 73.1 million by 2020.
The NPC boss, while speaking on the theme, ‘Investing in Young People’, said it was time all stakeholders ensured safe, successful and healthy passage from adolescence into adulthood, which he said was the right of every child.
He said, “This can be fulfilled if families and societies make sustained investments and provide opportunities aimed at ensuring that adolescents and youths develop the knowledge, skills and resilience needed for a healthy, productive life.
“Adolescents and youths are central to the development agenda. Safeguarding their rights and investing in their future by providing quality education, decent employment, effective livelihood skills, access to reproductive health care and comprehensive sexuality education which emphasises gender and power, are essential to their development”.
According to Mr. Duruiheoma, there is a need to create awareness among stakeholders on the need to invest in young people, a step that requires attitudinal change.
He said, “In order to generate awareness, the focus should include partnering with the young population, launching of social media campaign, focusing attention on key issues and encouraging mentoring to prepare the young for adulthood.
“Sustained investment in young people requires the concerted efforts and commitment of all stakeholders like the parents, schools, traditional institutions, civil society organisations and the government at all levels”.