Paul Osuyi, Asaba
The Bishop of Asaba Diocese, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Rev Justus Mogekwu, has advised couples against having large numbers of children, saying that the present social, economic and financial situation can no longer support large families.
Mogekwu advised couples to adopt suitable family planning methods, noting that controlled child birth was different from abortion.
Speaking in Asaba during an interview with newsmen, the bishop said that it is no longer in vogue for a man to marry 10 wives and raise 200 children for farm hands.
He said times have changed, and as such the country’s economy, financial and social status of people should determine the number of children they want and could care for.
‘We believe that children are like the arrows in the quiver of a mighty man. At the same time, that should not be a reason why we should keep multiplying like a rats,’ he said.
‘As you know, there are many kinds of quivers. There are quivers that can take five arrows, there are quivers that can take 10 and there are those that can take only three arrows, depending on its capacity.
‘It is foolish to equip quiver for three arrows with 20 arrows, you will tear it, so our stand is, let’s accept that children are gift from God but we must also accept that God demands discipline.
‘God says, let your moderation be known unto all men. If you try to continue breeding without self control, of which self control is also God’s demand on His people.
“So, you must be self controlled, we must take cognizance of our quiver as conscribed by the ability to hold arrows.
“Economically, financially, and socially, you can not give birth to children when you have no capacity to look after one.
“So, family planning in the sense of not committing abortion, but in the sense of preventing excessive breeding of children, this is something that must be taken into consideration.
“So, as long as we continue to look after and take adequate care of the few children we have, we give thanks to God.
“We must know that we have passed the age were people have 10 wives and 200 children as farm hands. We must begin to look at things from different perspectives now,” he said.
He said that our demographic figure must be put on check, adding that, “if we over grow it, there will be in trouble, then children no longer see themselves as a blessing but as a curse. So, our economy, social and demographics trend must define our growing of children.”
The bishop said contrary to belief, many rural women were been sensitised now to understand that uncontrolled child birth has severe consequences.
“I know of some women who have ran away from their homes because of their husbands’ uncontrolled drive for sex, so, everybody is becoming sensible now.
“When a woman has had a child and subsequently she is faced with pregnancy related complications, she will advise herself and people will not hesitate to caution her to seek support to prevent her from dying prematurely if her husband cannot control his urge,” he said.