Emir of Kano, Mohammadu Sanusi (II) on Monday said that Nigeria’s huge population is currently a liability to the country.
Speaking during a panel discussion during the ongoing 25th National Economic Summit in Abuja on Monday, Sanusi said the potentials of the country’s huge population had yet to be tapped as the right policies to harness the future of the young people are still lacking.
He attributed the rate of kidnapping, armed robbery, insurgency, farmers-herders crisis to the level of population growth.
“People talk that our population is an asset but we are yet to get there.
“Nigeria’s population is currently a liability because most of the root cause of problems such as kidnapping, armed robbery, Boko Haram, drug addiction are all tied to the population that we have and the question is how do you turn that into a productive one.
“This population problem is perhaps the most important developmental challenge we have to face. If we don’t have a demographic transition, we will never have an economic transition.”
Also speaking at the session, which focussed on how demographic realities can be transformed into social and business opportunities and what the implications are on internal migration, sustainable peace and security, Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah also noted that the rate of population growth in other countries provided them with an opportunity to boost economic output, such is not the case in Nigeria.
“Everything that becomes an opportunity in other countries become a liability in Nigeria. How is it then a country that is so resource endowed with all the opportunities that are available to us, things still turn liabilities to us in Nigeria.
“I don’t want to speculate how other nations have turned the population into positive. It is that there must be something in the Nigerian water that makes it impossible for us to lack the capacity and the sense o understanding of even opportunities.”
President Muhammadu Buhari had during the formal opening of the summit blamed concentration of the country’s wealth in the hands of a few individuals located in five states and Abuja as the reason for banditry and other migratory vices.