By G9ija

What effect will Nigeria’s average population growth of 2.6 per cent per annum have on migration and security?

This and more will be the focus of the 14th edition of the ÆLEX Annual Lecture which holds tomorrow.

The virtual event, organised by the commercial & dispute resolution law firm, is themed: Illiteracy, migration and security: Nigeria’s population time bomb.

It will feature several lawyers, including lawyer cum co-host of TVC’s “Your View”, Mrs Nyma Akashat-Zibiri; Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora commission, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa and Resident Representative, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Mr Mohammed Yahya, among others.

In a statement, the organisers expressed hope that the forum will provide opportunity for experts to shed light “on a pertinent national issue” while also providing recommendations and suggestions to tackle it.

Explaining the basis for the theme, they said: “Nigeria is currently estimated to have a population of about 208 million individuals. The country’s population is expected to surpass that of the United States of America by 2047. In fact, the United Nations projects that by 2050, Nigeria’s is likely to have a population of 401.31 million people! Indeed the country remains one of the largest black populations in the world and is the most populous country in Africa.

“Many posit, however, that Nigeria’s development has not caught up with its population and has turned what should be the country’s biggest blessing to something it has to grapple with.  Despite the exponentially increasing population, the literacy rate in Nigeria is only about 59.6%, with half of the population of individuals over 15 years being classified as illiterates. For the literate demographic, jobs are scarce and underpaid despite a seeming abundance of qualifications.

“Understandably, this factor has been one of the most frequently cited reasons for international migration by Nigerians. Additional reasons given for migration include insufficient income, inadequate/inexistent public infrastructures and the general search for a better quality of life.”

They observed that these factors are also so intertwined that failure in one area has a domino effect on other areas, adding that widespread failure of these factors in any country will certainly have its evident ramifications for such economy.

They noted, for instance, that lack of education and or employment has been named as a principal cause of insecurity in the country. Insecurity in turn has been a deterrent to investment and growth of the economy.

“As Nigeria’s population continues to grow by an average of 2.6 per cent annually, this raises the question of whether Nigeria’s population is a ticking time bomb.

“The answer to this question and how we can best harness our population will be addressed in the 14th edition of ÆLEX Annual Lecture themed: Illiteracy, Migration and Security: Nigeria’s Population Time Bomb.

“As 2020 is a year unlike any other, this year’s edition will be a virtual session.