Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Northern Lawmakers Fail To Block Birth Control Motion

The House of Representatives was on Tuesday, November 24, thrown into a stormy session following a motion for control of the country’s population.

Some members of the House mainly from the north attacked the motion saying it was a direct attack on Islam while other did not see it as such.

A member of the lower chamber of the National Assembly, Babatunde Gabriel Kolawole had moved for the motion titled ‘Need for the federal government to curb population explosion in Nigeria.’

Kolawole had argued that the Green Chamber should urge the Federal Government to make workable policy to arrest the alarming rate of population growth  and direct the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to educate Nigerians on the benefits of family’s planning.

The lawmaker hinged his point on a report by a United States based Population Reference Bureau  which projected that the country population will shoot up to 433 million in 2050.

This figure will make Nigeria to become the third most populous in the world, only behind China and India and will be higher than United States even as the country barely have less than 10 %r of the landmass of US.

Kolawole explained further that Nigeria population stands at 166 million people with five million people added yearly. He was worried that the National Population Commission (NPC) had lost touch with its core responsibility of researching and monitoring national population information databank and advising the presidency on the appropriate action to take.

He added that this failure on the part of NPC has put more pressure on the country infrastructure and finance with a direct result of high unemployment rate, poverty and crime.

The lawmaker submission was objected by his colleague from Bauchi state, Sani Abdul, who noted that the motion was unnecessary and a waste of time.

The speaker, Yakubu Dogara, however, disagreed with Abdul, stating that the motion was necessary as it was connected with the need to plan.

Abdul while pushing his argument further believed that Nigeria’s resource and landmass can carter for any population explosion.

It was learnt that some lawmakers, mostly from the north  were objected to the contentious motion  and spoke unanimously against the motion.  They based their arguments on the fact that population control is anti-Islam and a direct attack on their religion beliefs.

Contributing on the motion, another lawmaker, Zakare Mohammed pointed out that though he was not against the motion but advised that the country’s culture must be preserved.

Leaning his voice on the controversial motion, Adam Jagaba raised a constitutional point of order explaining that the motion is within the ambit of the constitution and did not contravene the any part of the House’s rule.

Supporting Jagaba’s submission, another lawmaker raised a point of order pursuant to Order 9 Rule 8 of the House Rule, dismissing the insinuation that the motion was offensive to Islam.

However, the Speaker while ruling on the motion said that Committee on Justice, Population, Rules and Business should look into the motion and proffer a way forward