Soji-Eze Fagbemi – Abuja
THE Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) President, Olasupo Ayokunle, have lamented the high rate of Nigerian women who died daily at child birth.
Describing this as unacceptable, they advised the Federal Government to invest heavily in Family Planning, to give hope to millions of Nigerian women who died yearly at child birth.
The traditional/religious leaders made the called as available data emerged that over 100 Nigerian women die daily at child birth.
Speaking at the 5th Annual Family Planning Consultative Stakeholders Meeting in Abuja, they called for improved budgetary allocation and huge investment in Family Planning, to curb the ugly development.
The stakeholders meeting was jointly organised by the Ministry of Health and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), with a theme: “Investing in Family Planning: Key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Nigeria.”
The UNFPA Representative in Nigeria, Dr Diene Keita, disclosed that Nigeria has by far the highest number of women and children dying in Africa, and the 2nd highest in the world.
Keira also said improved investment in family planning and population control are very imperative to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in the country.
The Ooni of Ife, who was a special guest at the event said Nigeria and its government should be passionate about the issues of child spacing and family planning, but regretted that “we all talk about it but scratch the surface.”
He said: “We all talk about it but scratch the surface but it is something deeper than that and something we must take very seriously in our country.
He stated that the issue of child spacing and family planning, is a serious investment which all stakeholders must invest in and take serious.
Oba Ogunwusi advised the Federal, state and local governments in the country “to pay more attention to this national disaster.”
The Sultan of Sokoto, who was represented by the Emir of Shonga said the role of religious groups on the issue of family planning has been wrongly represented.
He pointed out that the issue of population control which brings about five children per family was a set back to the policy of family planning.
The Sultan emphasized that Islam was not averse to new technology and that the policy was a very good one.
The Royal father stated that the Sultan and the Islamic clerics have given huge commitment to the issue of family planning through a book published on its importance, adding that the book was endorsed by all sects and clerics in the country.
Also, the CAN President, Dr Ayokunle stressed the need for paradigm shift, adding that it was not enough to continue to talk without implementation, regretting that as good as the policy is, implementation has become the problem.
He stated that the issue of family planning should be considered and taken care by budgetary allocation, adding, “CAN will continue to support family planning programme.”
He said the high rate of mortality and death while giving birth is heart breaking.