IT’s impact on population management

Since inception till date, this very column has been interested in societal issues as they pertain to technology, or how technology can be aptly deployed towards addressing any existing societal anomaly or what have you. Hence, this topic is informed by the need to critically analyse the tech-driven measures that could be used to aptly manage the Nigeria’s population in its entirety.

Population arguably remains the most integral part of the anticipated developmental stride of any existing society. It is so, because, it’s one of the major factors that determine the society’s net worth.

However, as we take into cognizance the inevitable impact of population on societal uplift, it’s noteworthy that it is only human population that bears such idiosyncrasy. It suffices to assert that the population of other forms of organisms is relatively inconsequential, economic wise, compared to that of the humankind. Two prime factors – natural and human resources – determine the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of every nation.

It’s pertinent to acknowledge that the aforementioned recipes are interwoven. Natural resources obviously require human resources before it could be harnessed. Thus, without the latter, the former would remain crude or useless. Similarly, mankind unavoidably requires the natural resources for life’s sustenance.

Little wonder discerning leaders fiercely safeguard and sustain these resources. A country’s resources can only be aptly managed by ensuring effective and efficient sustenance of its human population.

Towards a holistic sustenance of a given population, it’s imperative to note the rudimentary factors that affect population growth, which are: birth rate, death rate, and migration. Having carried out the census of a country’s population, there’s need to checkmate these factors in order to subsequently boast of a robust and reliable database.

The factual point is that, a reliable population record cannot be sustained without involving Information Technology (IT). Ranging from census to update, each of the exercises involved requires proper utilization of IT for laudable functionality.

Owing to the overwhelming impact of IT on every activity pertaining to population management, it’s high time the National Population Commission (NPC) started deploying its use in the agency’s day-to-day obligations.

It’s appalling that the NPC cannot even currently boast of a reliable database as regards Nigeria’s population, let alone sustaining it. The authority needs to comprehend that the country requires a standard population record with a view to boosting its socio-economic status, and such can never be obtained without a substantive database. It is equally worth noting that a database cannot presently be considered viable if IT isn’t adequately utilized in the process.

In other words, the concerned quarters are expected to embrace the tech-driven tool wholeheartedly, considering that it is the only way forward. In view of the above, our pattern of population census must be reviewed in earnest. Hence, as the country prepares for the next population census, I enjoin the NPC to strategize in order to ensure that IT is fully inculcated in the overall scheme so that at the end of the national exercise, we as a people can boast of a comprehensive IT-based population database.

Prior to the commencement of the said nationwide exercise, the NPC should endeavour to establish an independent IT-oriented department/unit. The unit ought to be entitled to a well-experienced indigenous director.

Independent, in the sense that the unit must have all the required resources to avoid intrusion; well-experienced, meaning literally that the prospective personnel must possess a convincing IT expertise. And indigenous, in the sense that he or she must be a full-fledged Nigerian; being indigenous would enable him or her to regularly carryout the consignment diligently and patriotically. The unit ought to equally constitute personnel that are knowledgeable enough in the field of IT.

Inter alia, there should be an agency that would oversee or monitor the day-to-day running of the unit toward ensuring efficiency. After conducting the census, there would be need for constant and consistent thorough update of the database, and such needs to be done by the IT unit. The records need to be updated by subsequently observing the earlier mentioned fundamental factors that affect population.

A tactical approach ought to be employed toward ensuring that the overall birth rate and death rate occurring within the country are regularly gathered regardless of the locality where the event took place.

It suffices to say that every maternity and mortuary operating across the federation must be duly certified by the NPC whereby every child delivery or corpse deposition, as the case may be, would be instantly reported to the commission via the respective IT departments of the said centres. To this end, in event of home child-delivery, such case needs to be reported to any nearest maternity for onward documentation.

Similarly, whenever one dies and his or her corpse isn’t taken to the mortuary, the bereaved family is expected to report such incident to the closest mortuary. This policy implies that, henceforth, any maternity or mortuary that isn’t recognized or approved by the NPC must be shut down indefinitely. Such a monitoring measure would equally require setting up of a mobile committee by the commission that would regularly oversee the existence cum activity of all maternities and mortuaries. Regarding migration, the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) is meant to work hand-in-hand with the NPC.

The cooperation would help to invariably update the latter on immigration cum emigration matters. The proposed relationship would be effective and easy by duly involving IT. Moreover, the NPC’s IT-department ought to invariably make use of world-class softwares. The softwares must be designed by the department’s staff for privacy sake. The unit is also required to continually possess such classic devices cum personnel as anti-hacking softwares, experts coupled with other sundry entitlements.

An all-inclusive statistics of Nigeria’s population can only be properly managed and sustained via the use of IT as well as implementation of viable policy. Yes, aside the measure, lack of apt policies in the system can mar the overall efforts. Since the country possesses all it takes to make the project feasible, we as a people shouldn’t hesitate in utilizing the available resources. Hence, the concerned must be ready to adhere thoroughly to the needful.

All in all, the truth of the matter remains that Nigeria as a people cannot make the needed progress as regards population management if IT is being relegated to the background. Think about it!

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