China Infamous One-Child Policy: Implications and Lessons for Nigeria


As Nigeria's population continues to explode, are there any lessons we can learn and perhaps adopt from countries that have successfully managed their growing populations?
Yes! A few Asian countries such as China and Singapore have successfully managed their population growth with the use of policy initiatives.

Just recently, China made an adjustment to its one-child policy as reported in an article by Joe Weisenthal of Business Insider:
“China held a huge meeting on reform last week, and the details of what was agreed to are finally coming out. For those who read Chinese, the full document is right here.
A change to the country's infamous one-child-per-family law is the most headline-grabbing reform.Per Chinese news agency Xinhua, the government is loosening restrictions on its infamous one-child policy, which has been in place for decades.China will loosen its decades-long one-child population policy, allowing couples to have two children if one of them is an only child, according to a key decision issued on Friday by the Communist Party of China (CPC).China will implement this new policy while adhering to the basic state policy of family planning, according to the decision on major issues concerning comprehensively deepening reforms, which was approved at the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee held from Nov. 9 to 12 in Beijing.The birth policy will be adjusted and improved step by step to promote “long-term balanced development of the population in China,” it said. China’s family planning policy was first introduced in the late 1970s to rein in the surging population by limiting most urban couples to one child and most rural couples to two children, if the first child born was a girl. The policy was later relaxed, with its current form stipulating that both parents must be only children if they are to have a second child.”

Are there lessons or policy options we can adopt from China? I believe so.
If those of us in Nigeria can take a cue from, and embrace a similar policy, adjusting same based on our own unique demography and peculiarities, perhaps our maternal, infant/child mortality rate and maybe even the poverty rate would be drastically reduced.
As a country, I believe that we can learn a thing or two from the Chinese One-Child policy. I am in no way suggesting that we implement the policy hook-line-and-sinker that would be unrealistic and utterly absurd. But we cannot deny the fact that we have a problem. What with the increasing Infant and Child Mortality Rate, Maternal Mortality Rate [Currently a ratio of 545-630 per 100,000 live births on the maternal mortality index and 75 per 1,000 live births on the infant mortality index (UN)], prevailing poverty [112.519 million Nigerians live in relative poverty conditions. This figure which was contained in the 2010 poverty profile report of the agency represented 69 per cent of the country’s total population (National Bureau of Statistics)] about our country, I think every well-meaning Nigerian and member of society should be concerned.
I have seen cases where families, couples and single parents who do not have enough/no income with which to sufficiently cater for themselves having numbers of children which they can hardly cater for. These families end up living in unseemly quarters-if they have even any, live-in with parents in already crowded family apartments, or even throw out the kids to live on the streets. These things indirectly impact negatively on the socio-economic climate of the city, state and country at large.

The kids raised in these kinds of homes or on the streets more often than not become the criminals, robbers and hoodlums that end up plaguing society. The extreme poverty faced by the children and the parents of such children most times could have been averted or minimised if only some measures had been put in place as checks. If these parents had been guided by some Government Health Policy [like that of the Chinese] and had strict family planning measures enforced on them, we would hardly have this growing population of street kids and struggling families all as a result of lack of enlightenment and poor policy framework.

Perhaps the Nigerian Government should give this kind of policy a serious thought, where families/parents are assessed based on their income level and financial capabilities and are given a limit: the maximum number of children they can have.

For instance:

  • Income Level 1 [N 0 - N 50,000 per month] ≤ 1 Child only
  • Income Level 2 [N 50,000 - N 300,000 per month] ≤ 2 Children only
  • Income Level 3 [N 300,000 - N 500,000 per month] ≤ 3 Children only
  • Income Level 4 [N 500,000-to infinity  per month] ≤ 4 Children only
Another option will be to set a fixed limit, just like China and Singapore, of say 3 children per family. And then have this policy in place over a 20-30 year time frame. As the policy runs course, intense advocacy and implementation of family planning, maternal health and child education is done on a mass scale at all levels and utilizing all media channels.

It is my belief that, doing this may just be the way out of Nigeria's impending population explosion catastrophe by 2050. 

African man no de reject pikin”-Ancient proverb
Please do share your thoughts in the comments.

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