UNFPA, NPC disagree on life expectancy in Nigeria

There is no agreement between the United Nations Population Fund(UNFPA) and the National Population Commission(NPC) over life expectancy in Nigeria.

While the UNFPA estimated it at 55 years in its new report, the NPC gave a much lower figure of 52.2 years.

NPC chairman, Alhaji Hassan Bashir told the 52nd Session of the United Nations Commission on Population and Development in New York early this month that the overall life expectancy of Nigeria stands at 52.2 years.

He said Nigerians “60 years and over currently represents less than five per cent of the entire population, while overall life expectancy is 52.2 years”.

This contradicted UNFPA’s estimate, which puts Nigeria’s life expectancy only higher than that of Sierra Leone,(53), Chad and Central African Republic(54). If the NPC figure is accepted, it means Nigeria has the lowest life expectancy in the world.

The UNFPA in its new State of the World Population report on Monday, puts Nigeria’s average population growth at 2.6 per cent between 2010 and 2019 and estimated Nigeria’s population at about 201 million.

The report said that Nigeria’s population grew by about 5 million people from 2018 when the country’s population was 195.9 million.

The country has witnessed a population growth from 54.7 million in 1969 to 105.4 million in 1994 and 201.0 million in 2019.

According to UNFPA, the age distribution of 15-64 years is the highest population composition in the country with 54% of Nigerians falling between the age range.

Forty four per cent of Nigerians are within the age distribution 0-14 while 32% of the population is between 10 and 24 years and a paltry 3% are 65 and above.

The UNFPA report indicates a slight drop in the fertility rate from 2018’s 5.4 births per woman to 5.3 births per woman. It continues the trend of dropping fertility rate over the years from 6.3 in 1994 to 5.3 in 2019.

The World population grew to 7.7 billion in 2019 while the life expectancy rate is 72 years.

UNFPA supports reproductive health care for women and youth across the world.

The report also indicated that 51% of women aged 15-49 years who are married (or in union) make decisions on sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights.

UNFPA has also committed to its agenda 2030. The bold agenda of UNFPA seeks to protect and promote human rights.

“Leave no one behind and reach the furthest behind first; strengthen link between development, humanitarian action & sustaining peace; reduce risks and vulnerabilities and build resilience.

“Ensure gender-responsive approaches at all levels of programming and Improve accountability, transparency and efficiency.’’

According to UNFPA, “it is important that we act now. A bold agenda requires bold action. To achieve these objectives, we must work together to leave no one behind.’’ (NAN)