UNITED NATIONS POPULATION INFORMATION NETWORK (POPIN)
UN Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs,
with support from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA)

94-09-09: Statement of Nigeria, H.E. Mrs. Maryam Sani Abacha

ISO: NGA

 

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The electronic preparation of this document has been done by the

Population Information Network(POPIN) of the United Nations Population

Division in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme

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AS WRITTEN







  ADDRESS BY HER EXCELLENCY, THE FIRST LADY OF THE FEDERAL  REPUBLIC OF

NIGERIA, MRS. MARYAN SANI ABACHA AT THE  INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON

POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT





 CAIRO, EGYPT, SEPTEMBER 9, 1994





 President of the Conference

Your Excellencies

Distinguished Delegates

Ladies and Gentlemen



 I am greatly honoured by the opportunity to address this highly

esteemed International Conference on Population and Development (I.C.P.D)

and to bring to you the warm and fraternal greetings from the

Government and people of Nigeria on this very important occasion.



 That this Conference is taking place in this ancient country, Egypt,

the cradle of world civilization, the history of human development would

appear to have gone a full cycle. There cannot be a more symbolic and

historical place to host this Conference than Egypt.



 I will like to congratulate and thank His Excellency, President Hosni

Mubarak and the great people of Egypt, for hosting this Conference and

for according us this wonderful reception and hospitality. I would like

to especially congratulate him on the United Nations award on population

which he rightly deserves. Our sincere congratulations also go to the

President of I.C.P.D., other elected officers and all those who have

contributed to the organization of this conference



 My congratulations also go to all of us here for witnessing this

historic debate on the growth and development of mankind. It is on

record that the collective wish of the governments and peoples of the

world has led to a monumental and concerted effort in fashioning a

negotiated consensus on population husbandry and sustainable economic

growth in the years ahead. It is indeed heartening that this Conference

affords us the opportunity to share experiences and information on an

aspect of life which is vital to the development of mankind.



 Permit me, Mr. President, to go down memory lane, to recall our

experience and the events of two decades ago at a similar Conference in

Bucharest in 1974 when Nigeria, the most populous African country,

erroneously joined the chorus that "Development was the best

contraceptive". We felt then that with development, fertility of the

people would naturally decline and population growth would be manageable

and affordable<) in developing countries. We were proved wrong, for we

had rapid economic growth in Nigeria with Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

of about nine per cent, rapid decline in death rates and increased high

birth rates yet, our country witnessed the harvest of rapid population

growth with its attendant consequences.



 With the experience, therefore, in 1984 at the Mexico Conference, our

message and undertaking were those of integration of population and

Family Planning or child spacing programmes in health and socio-economic

development policies. A life unexamined is not worth living. Every state

of human development is subject to scrutiny, examination and

reexamination without undermining values considered sacred to a people.



 I am pleased to inform this august Conference that Nigeria has a

comprehensive National Population Policy and has shared experiences with

other African countries. However, in spite of the dawn of demographic

and fertility transition in Nigeria, infant, child and maternal

mortality rates are still unacceptably high. We have therefore come to

this Conference with high expectation of global consensus-building and

concerted action to improve the standard of living and quality of life

of peoples in all nation states, particularly in the developing

countries. The Nigerian delegation expects much from this Conference and

is willing to contribute as much to the debate and negotiations based on

human values and benefits.



 Our views on some issues coming before this Conference are as follows:



 1. That we endorse the Dakar/Ngor Declaration which contained the

African governments' views on many issues coming before this conference.



 2. We recommend the draft Programme of Action before us as the basis

for consensus building towards solving the global problems of rapid

population growth, environmental degradation and poverty.



 3. We endorse the integration of population, environment, poverty

alleviation and development strategies which place peoples welfare and

well-being at the centre of development process.



 4. We uphold gender-equity, which extends beyond equality to fairness

and social justice as a pre-requisite to women empowerment and

development and which should be promoted as a national and international

policy.



 5. We emphasize that women's health is generally interrelated with

productive and sexual health as well as safe motherhood. Therefore, all

measures to improve women's health will receive our commitment.



 Our detailed points of views and proposed amendments to the draft

Programme of Action are contained in our Country's Statement on the

Draft Population Programme of Action.



 I would like to use this opportunity Mr. President to intimate this

international gathering of our concerted efforts in Nigeria to address

family issues particularly on health and social welfare. We have

designed a social crusade known as Family Support Programme (ESP).

realized that our problems as a nation cannot be divorced from the

challenges facing our family system. We also believe that the family as

n social unit must be supported morally and materially in order to

continue to command the enormous influence on the personality

development or children.



 The Family Support Programme therefore is essentially a \socio economic

regeneration of society on the foundation of our rich cultures and

traditions, strong family values, morality and discipline. It is

envisaged among other things that through this crusade our adult

population will acquire skills and learn relevant trades with the hope

that at the end of the day the unemployed members of our families may be

useful to themselves and others.



 This crusade has so far garnered the support of Nigerian Government,

all our womenfolk through their various democratic associations,

individuals and groups. lt. is our hope that the successes we may

achieve in this crusade will inspire other nations and the world at

large.



 Your Excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, my address would

be incomplete without stressing on a very vital ingredient of growth and

development, PEACE. You will agree with me that this Conference an(l

other similar international gatherings including our dreams of

sustainable growth and development would be an exercise in futility if

we do not address the issue of the promotion of peace among nations,

states and within countries and territories. As you are aware, women and

children are always the biggest casualities of war and crisis, it will

not be out of place therefore that a woman is expressing concern about

this human tragedy. May I appeal to the United Nations to set aside a

day each year to be observed as international peace day for the

promotion of global peace and resolution of conflicts.



 Once more, Mr. President, Your Excellencies, distinguished Ladies and

Gentlemen, I thank you for your kind attention.






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