Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan urges birth control
- 27 June 2012
- From the section Africa
Nigerians should limit the number of children they are having, according to the country's leader.
President Goodluck Jonathan said people were having too many children, and went on to back birth control measures.
He said that in particular, uneducated people were having too many children, and urged people to only have as many children as they could afford.
The United Nations has estimated that the population of Nigeria could grow from 160m to 400m by 2050.
Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, and previous attempts to encourage adults to have fewer children have failed.
BBC Nigeria correspondent Will Ross says population growth is increasing pressure on the land which is a major trigger of violence in the country.
Mr Jonathan said legislation and policies aimed at controlling the number of births might be considered in future.
He said he had asked the National Population Commission to inform people about birth control before taking the issue further.
The president acknowledged that the issue was a sensitive one, saying: "We are extremely religious people... It is a very sensitive thing."
Mr Jonathan was quoted as saying: "Both Christians and Muslims, and even traditionalist and all the other religions, believe that children are God's gifts to man.
"So it is difficult for you to tell any Nigerian to number their children because... it is not expected to reject God's gifts."