The Nigerian Senate has assured citizens that the population and housing census slated for November 2024 will be held as scheduled.
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Speaking in Abuja during the screening of 17 of the 19 commissioner-nominees for the National Population Commission, NPC, on Wednesday, February 7, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on National Identity and Population, Senator Abdul Ningi (PDP, Bauchi Central), said most of the nominees are people coming for the second time.
“It is a renomination and we have perused their credentials presented in the first instance, compared to the ones they. have just presented.”
The last census was conducted in 2006, by the National Population Commission, which gave a population figure of 140 million.
The immediate past administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari had planned to conduct another census in 2022 but the programme was later moved to 2023.
The exercise was, however, suspended indefinitely by Buhari, a few days before leaving office, saying he would allow President Bola Tinubu to announce new dates for the headcount.
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Recently, Tinubu pledged his administration’s support for the next census, saying it is necessary in crucial aspects of national planning.
Speaking further, Ningi, who noted that conducting the exercise is all about political will by the government, noted that Nigeria had not conducted a census in the last 11 years.
“We are almost 11 years without taking the United Nations resolution on population which comes almost every seven years.
“I am sure with the political will, this is possible, it’s doable, the commission is ready, the personnel are ready. All we need do is the announcement by the President that the population census is coming on a date and once he says it, the international observers will now come in with their support.
“Without the President’s declaration, no one will send a kobo to Nigeria to support population census. Seventy-five per cent of the logistics in terms of machines, in terms of training of the personnel have been completed.
“All we need to do is for the President to have the political will, and commitment to say the census is taking place and we cannot postpone it.”
“That is why it is difficult now to ascertain the exact population. Even pro-rata, how many are Nigerians because of lack of political will,” Ningi said.
“The nominees should realise the importance of the assignment before them. The last time we had a national census was more than a decade ago.
“No nation improves nor develops without knowing its number and therefore, this is a unique assignment that the nominees will face in due course.
“This is because we are going to face the national census. And you have been selected because of your pedigree, your experience and exposure to the system.
“It is very imperative while you are on that duty, we must see ourselves as Nigerians. There is no basis for any competition; whether there are more Hausa people than Igbo people or Yoruba than Tivs.
“That is not the essence of population count. The essence is to be able to develop a mechanism where we lay a developmental plan that will meet the aspirations of our peoples.”
Photo Credit: Getty