By Chinenye Offor
Abuja – The National Population Commission (NPopC) says Family Planning (FP) is a pathway to achieving Demographic Dividend (DD) in the country.
The commission also said FB was fundamental to the realisation of 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development and strategic for national progress.
Chief Eze Duruiheoma, the Chairman of NPopC, said this at news conference as part of activities to commemorate 2018 World Population Day on Monday in Abuja.
The theme for this year’s event is “Family Planning as a Human Right’’.
He noted that the theme was a reminder to the first proclamation on FP as a Human Right made on May 13, 1968, at the conclusion of the United Nations International Conference on Human rights.
According to him, 20 years after, the 1994 International Conference on Population Development (ICPD) in Cairo reaffirmed the declaration with a rider and to have information and ensuring informed choices as well made available a full range of safe and effective methods.
He also said that the ICPD programme of action allowed the rights to be exercised by all couples and individuals, adding that FP is the first and last step in managing population.
“Nigeria as signatory to both declarations; this day provides opportunity for us as a nation to reflect on efforts made over decades to empower the relevant population groups to exercise this right.
“The rights to information and access to contraception, education, the means to determine the number and spacing of children and rights to freely decide the number and spacing of children without any coercion or compulsion and discrimination.
“The extent to which these rights are promoted and exercised explains the impact of fertility on social well-being of the population, particularly women, adolescent girls and young people as well as infants.
“Family planning and birth spacing is the first and right step to population management, central in saving lives of women and adolescent girls, enhances women’s empowerment, key to poverty reduction,’’ he said.
Duruiheoma noted that accessibility, affordability, accountability, availability of quality and safe full range of FP products and services and timely delivery as equality and non-discrimination through innovative technology were essential for exercising basic human rights.
According to him, Nigeria being a part of the consensus reached by 179 countries in Cairo during the ICPD to recognise and promote the exercising of the basic human right which would focus on provision of information, accessibility to full range of FP options free in all localities.
He also said that achievement of FP as human right rested on information, education as well as means to exercising the right to reproductive freedom to responsibly determine when to start reproduction, the number and spacing of children.
Duruiheoma therefore said that government was responsible, accountable and central in providing individuals, couples and parents with adequate, quality, timely and appropriate information, education and resources to enable the voluntary exercise of the right without coercion.
He, however, expressed concerned on the limited access to contraceptives and the unmet demand for FP services which contributed to poor exercise of the rights, saying that exercising the rights will help in reduction of maternal mortality.
The Director-General of the commission, Dr Ghaji Bello, urged the Federal Government to look into population issues for better planning and development in the country.
He said that the commission would work with key stakeholders and partners on better ways of managing population explosion in Nigeria.
The event was attended by development partners, NGOs, CSOs and management of NPopC.