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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Religio-Cultural Issues in Population Growth in Nigeria
Author:Ejizu, Christopher I.ISNI
Periodical:Africana Marburgensia
Geographic term:Nigeria
Miscellaneous (i.e. Demography, Refugees, Sports)
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
Women's Issues
Cultural Roles
Family Planning and Contraception
Fertility and Infertility
Abstract:Nigeria is the most populous nation in Africa and its population growth rate is alarming. This paper examines the intricate connection between entrenched religious beliefs and the rate of population growth in present-day Nigeria. Although Nigeria now has a National Policy on Population (promulgated in 1988), the question arises to which extent the government will be able to influence religious and cultural beliefs which tend to foster large families. For Nigerians, human life and fertility are the most primary values around which other values pivot. Life is sacred and proceeds from the Supreme Being through the intermediary of benevolent deities, spirit beings and ancestors. Belief in reincarnation particularly fosters the ideal of fertility. Ideas of and practices in marriage are intricately linked with the network of beliefs, and the essence of marriage is childbearing. Furthermore, the pattern of inheritance tends to encourage people to have numerous children, particularly sons. Finally, the new National Policy on Population has been rejected by a number of Christian church groups. They contend that the policy of reducing the number of children per woman from 6 to 4 is biased in favour of Muslims, since Muslims uphold the practice of polygyny. In the face of such a religiously motivated opposition, the expectations of curbing the rate of fertility in Nigeria with the new policy remain rather dim. Ref.