By Ikenna Osuoha
Alhaji Isa Kwarra, Executive Chairman, National Population Commission (NPC), has called for a commitment of all stakeholders to prevent population boom as well as Gender Based Violence (GBV).
Kwarra made the call at the occasion of the commemoration of 2021 World Population Day (WPD) on Tuesday in Abuja.
This year’s WPD has as its theme: “Rights and Choices are the Answer: Whether Baby Boom or Bust, the solution lies in prioritising Reproductive Health and Rights of all people.”
The Chairman, represented by Dr Sulaiman Ismaila, federal commissioner for Kano, emphasised the imperatives of prioritising reproductive health and rights of all people in Nigeria, especially women and girls to achieve demographic transition.
“The National Population Commission sees this as:
“An opportunity, a responsibility and a call to duty by all here today to ensure women’s rights are protected, promoted and guaranteed.
“Creating opportunities to allow them make choices that will enhance their well-being and enable them to lead productive lives,” he said.
Kwarra said that before the advent of COVID-19, Nigeria was faced with challenges of rapid population growth propelled by high fertility rates.
According to him, the high fertility rate compromises efforts at achieving population management through responsible reproduction.
He decried the low level of contraceptive prevalence rate as well as access to family planning commodities, saying “regrettably, Gender Based Violence has been on the increase.”
The Chairman noted that census would provide the people with sufficient data to advise and inform them on the status of affairs for formulating policies and decisions.
UN Resident Coordinator, Mr Edward Kallon, said that bodily autonomy was key to protecting girls and women.
Kallon, who called for synergy of all to promote sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls, warned that child marriage was on the increase.
He, however, blamed the upsurge of GBV and child marriage on COVID-19, saying that it had resulted in unintended pregnancies among other consequences.
Prof. Oka Obono of Department of Sociology, University of Ibadan, in his keynote speech described women as the essence of freedom to mankind through childbirth.
Obono said that the world had yet to begin the respect for human rights with patriarchal domination and suppression of women.
He added: “we have not yet commenced respecting fundamental human rights until we respect the bodily autonomy of women as their rights.
“In an ideal world where all rights including sexual, developmental and reproductive rights are perfectly upheld, there would be no vulnerability.”
He, however, called for a concerted action to liberate women from the bounds of patriarchal subjugation and poverty. (NAN)