“What we need to do is to increase the number of people within the age of 14 to 65 bracket and not increase the number of people between zero and 14 or increase the number of people after 65 or 70. That is increasingly dependent ratio."

The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, sees the possibility of growing the nation’s GDP beyond projected figures if the nation would check its growing population.

Nigeria’s population is over 170 million, but there is very little campaign around population control, a situation that has led to high rate of youth unemployment. Most homes living below $200 per day in remote villages have over 5 children and the parents may not even be aware of need to control child birth.

But the Minister believes that checking the increase in population could make it possible for the nation to double a projected GDP/capita of $5800 by 2050.

Addressing a gathering at the national Summit on Demographic Dividend in Nigeria on Thursday, the Minister said: “If we continue at this rate we are likely to have GDP/capita of $5800 in 2050. If we work hard to reduce the population we might double this GDP/Capita.

“We have to take a conscious decision as a nation for us to move forward. Take quite a number of actions, invest in young people, create jobs and invest in their potentials”.

The theme of the summit is Investing in Youth to Harness Demographic Dividend in Nigeria and it is seen as relevant at a time that most Nigerian youths are unemployed and lack skills that could empower them financially.

Further highlighting that youth empowerment must begin from first checking the growth of the population, the Minister also pointed out that Nigeria had a fertility rate of 5.5. "But it is also amazing that men like me and you who don't carry pregnancies want our wives to have more children".