Mr Yusuf Anka, Acting Chairman, National Population Commission says Nigeria still lags behind in the Cairo Commitment, with high maternal mortality rate.
Anka made this known at the commemoration of the 2019 World Population Day on Thursday in Abuja, with the theme: ’25 Years of ICPD: Accelerating the Promise’.
The International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) was held in Cairo where an agreement was reached by 179 countries.
It was adopted in 1994 in Cairo, Egypt, to adopt the visionary programme of action agreeing to put people first, and empowering women to freely decide the timing and spacing of their pregnancies.
Anka noted that the critical issue facing Nigeria was how far the country had fared in meeting the targets of the Cairo Summit and what measures have been put in place to accelerate the full implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action.
He said in spite of all the improvements, modern contraceptive prevalence rate was still very low, unmet needs in family planning still high and female genital mutilation still prevalent.
“As a data generating agency of government, the National Population Commission, with her partners has been tracking the performance of the country through various surveys. Celebrating 25 years of ICPD is akin to extolling the conscientious focus on individual well-being as against targets,” he said.
Mr Eugene Kongnyuy, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Country Representative, said women have the right to make their own decisions about whether, when or how often to become pregnant.
Kongnyuy gave an analogy of women’s right in comparison to chicken.
“In Cairo, we imagined a future in which every pregnancy is wanted because every woman and girl will have the autonomy over her own body. We also imagined a future where no woman will die giving birth, no matter her location, socio-economic or legal status; she would have access to quality and antenatal services. We imagined a time where everybody will live in a society free from violence, with respect to dignity and where young girls will not be forced to marry or have their genitals mutilated,’’ he said.
In his address, Prof. Oka Obono, of the Department of Sociology, University of Ibadan, said this was a good time to reflect on what was achieved at the ICPD Conference in 1994, where rights were a central issue.
He said vulnerabilities arise because the rights of people are not recognised and protected.
Obono recommended increased investment in education and liberation of women from oppressive status quo.
He also called for interconnection among vulnerable groups and mobilisation of civil societies for gender equality.