Nigerian women embrace family planning ahead of population boom

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A "9ja Girls" councilor poses for a photo at the Bada Primary Health Centre in Lagos on November 11, 2018. (AFP)
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Young girls arrive at the Bada Primary Health Centre in lagos for the "9ja Girls" programme on November 11, 2018. (AFP)
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Young girls listen to an educational talk about puberty at the Bada Primary Health Centre in Lagos on November 11, 2018. (AFP)
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Facilitators of the "9ja Girls" programme pose for a picture outside the Bada Primary Health Centre in Lagos on November 11, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 30 January 2019
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Nigerian women embrace family planning ahead of population boom

LAGOS: Modupe Adegbite’s grandfather had 22 children, while her father had nine. At the age of just 19, she has decided she wants no more than four.
“Why do you have so many children if you cannot feed them?” she asked.
It’s a question many young Nigerians will face over the coming decades in Africa’s most populous country, where a booming population combined with poverty, record unemployment and roiling ethnic conflicts have some fearing a demographic “time-bomb.”
Nigeria’s population is expected to leap from 190 million today to 410 million by 2050 — and to almost twice that number again by the end of the century — according to the UN’s World Population Prospects.
That would mean that in just 30 years, Nigeria will be the world’s third most populous nation, behind only China and India.
For young women like Adegbite, who was born in Bada, one of the poorest neighborhoods in the economic capital Lagos, getting access to sex education and birth control can be difficult.
However Bada, which lacks electricity and paved roads, does have a family planning center, which opened last year.
Condoms, the pill and hormonal implants are freely available at the local 9ja Girls center, run by the US-based non-profit organization Populations Services International.

“Most of the girls here are sexually active at 15, sometimes 14 years old,” Naomi Ali of the 9ja Girls center told AFP.
“They start very early, whatever their religion. So they quickly become pregnant and they stop going to school.”
At first teenagers and young women in the area were suspicious, but Ali said hundreds now openly talk in the street about once taboo issues such as sexuality and romantic relationships.
“It’s difficult, sometimes they believe that contraception will make them infertile, or the parents categorically reject it,” she said.
Nigerian women have an average of 5.53 children, according to the World Bank, but the rate fluctuates greatly between major cities like Lagos and rural areas, where it reaches up to eight children per woman.
Mabingue Ngom, the UN Population Fund’s regional director for West Africa, said the situation in northern Nigeria was “urgent.”
“If we do nothing, we are going to face major problems,” Ngom said.
“Of the 20 million young Africans who enter the job market every year, only two to three million find work.”
“That’s what feeds into conflicts and terrorism,” he added, referring to the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency that emerged from northern Nigeria, an area which, along with neighboring Niger, has the world’s highest fertility rates.
Nigeria is fairly small compared to the world’s other highly populous nations — at 923,000 square kilometers it’s a 10th the size of the United States — and the fight for space is already causing conflict.
In the fertile center of the West African country, clashes between farmers and herders over access to land and water have left several thousand dead last year.

Efforts to encourage families to have fewer children have struggled in a country lacking a social safety net.
The idea that having more children means elderly parents will more likely be taken care of after retirement remains deeply rooted in Nigerian society.
But some analysts say large population growth could be an opportunity for the country, as foreign investors eye a rapidly expanding market.
Charles Robertson, global chief economist at Renaissance Capital, said population growth “should become a dividend for the next 20 years in Nigeria.”
He said Nigeria’s priority should be to develop “a high level of adult literacy with a steady supply of electricity, especially in large cities.”
“It is the best way for young people to get better paid jobs and sustain their families.”
Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo seemed to agree at an economic forum last year.
“To avoid the time-bomb scenario, we must act with urgency to build an economy that can support that population, provide jobs and economic opportunity, education and health care, hope and optimism,” he said.


House of Khan: Pakistani finds fame as ‘Game of Thrones’ doppelganger

Updated 22 March 2019
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House of Khan: Pakistani finds fame as ‘Game of Thrones’ doppelganger

  • The 25-year-old so resembles actor Peter Dinklage, who plays Tyrion Lannister in TV hit ‘Game of Thrones’
  • Not only are Khan and Dinklage’s faces strikingly similar, they are also the same height

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan: Pakistani waiter Rozi Khan had never heard of the Game of Thrones — or its hugely popular character Tyrion Lannister — until his striking resemblance to the dwarf anti-hero got heads turning at home.
The 25-year-old so resembles actor Peter Dinklage — who has played the witty and wily nobleman since the hit series’ first season in 2010 — that he gets regularly stopped by strangers desperate for a picture.
“I don’t mind. A lot of my pictures have been taken, that’s why I have become very famous everywhere,” he said.
Not only are Khan and Dinklage’s faces strikingly similar, they are also the same height at around 135 cms (4 ft 5in).
Photographs of the pair have unsurprisingly made their way onto social media showing the doppelgangers side-by-side.
“Wherever I go, someone says to me: ‘Sir, who is this man with you on Facebook’, I say that he is my friend. ‘He looks like you’. I tell them he is my brother. It’s not a bad thing,” said Khan.

Khan and Dinklage. (AFP)


The television series has won 47 Emmys — more than any other fictional show in history — along with a Golden Globe for Dinklage, 49, for best supporting actor in 2012.
A much anticipated final series is set to premiere on April 17.
Khan works at a small Kashmiri restaurant down a narrow line in Rawalpindi, serving customers hearty dishes such as mutton and spinach curries.
Owner Malik Aslam Pervez described him as a hard-worker — and also a drawcard for the eatery.
“When he takes a day off or gets sick, people look for him and ask where did he go? They get upset. They love him. There is always a crowd here but it has boomed because of him,” he said.
Born in Mansehra in northern Pakistan, Khan says he would love to meet Dinklage, describing him as a friend and brother.
“I love him very much, he is my friend... he is my height so I like him a lot,” said Khan.
For customers, seeing Tyrion Lannister in the flesh is also a thrill.
“When I saw him, I’m happy, I feel that I met with Lannister in real [life],” said Zain Hadri, 20.
“Game of Thrones” tells the story of noble families vying for control of the Iron Throne, all the while keeping one eye on the “White Walkers” leading hordes of the undead toward an invasion from the North.