The National Population Commission has announced its readiness to conduct a nationwide census from June 2021 to early 2022.
NPC Chairman, Nasir Kwarra, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja at the official presentation of the demographic dividend scorecard in the nation’s capital.
While acknowledging that the census has been delayed by five years, the commission said it has been in talks with the Federal Government on the issue.
“On our part we are ready. We can start conducting census from June 2021 to early 2022”, the NPC boss said.
“The issue of a census is at the front burner. We know that on our part we have already been delayed for about 5 years, but we are doing our best to speak with the government so that they can make a proclamation.
The last population census was conducted across the country in 2016.
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved N10 billion for the next phase of the Enumeration Area Demarcation exercise in the remaining 546 Local Government Area of the country.
This was disclosed on Monday by acting Chairman of the National Population Commission, Eyitayo Oyetunji during a press conference in Abuja.
“I am however pleased to announce that His Excellency, Mr President has reaffirmed his commitment towards the successful completion of the EAD and indeed towards the conduct of the next census by approving the release of the total sum of N10 billion for the continuation of the EAD in the remaining 546 local governments in the country,” he said.
He said President Buhari approved an additional N4.5 billion in the 2021 budget for the completion of the exercise, as part of the preparations for the next census.
According to Oyetunji, the exercise will outline areas in the local government areas into small geographical units called Enumeration Areas where the NPC will collate an accurate list of infrastructural facilities and households.
“The President has graciously followed this up by a further approval of an additional N4.5 billion to be included in the 2021 budget for the completion of the exercise as part of the preparations for the next census,” added.
The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Government to announce a date when the next census in the fourth quarter of 2019 will commence.
The lawmakers made the request during plenary on Wednesday at the lower chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
Following a motion sponsored by Mr Prestige Ossy, they noted that the National Population Commission (NPC) is saddled with the responsibility of gathering, collating and analysing demographic data such as a census.
The lawmakers referred to the data from the United Nation Fund for Population Activities that Nigeria has a dynamic economy and a large population expected to double in next two decades.
They stressed that the most significant feature of any society is human capital and census a pivotal tool for the growth which in turn informs decision making at all facts and endeavours of both government and private sectors.
The House recalled that the last census was held in 2006 while Nigeria’s population was estimated at 140,431,790 with an annual estimated growth of less than three per cent.
They decried that 12 years after the census, the current population of Nigeria is not known and the estimated 297 million presented by the NPC cannot be said to be accurate or reliable.
The lawmakers were also worried that the lack of up to date and accurate data on population has affected national planning and development at all levels, culminating into human and agricultural insecurity in the country.
They opined that a census based on bio-metrics data would capture all Nigerians and help to solve the problems of internal security challenges such as the farmers-herdsmen unrest, terrorism, and kidnapping among other crimes.
The House then resolved to call on the government to make provisions for census funds in the 2019 appropriation bill and mobilise NPC for the completion of Enumeration Area Demarcation and preliminary preparation of the census.
The Federal Executive Council has approved contracts over 8.6 billion naira for the supply of text books to public primary and junior secondary schools in the country.
The contracts were validated following a memo by the Education Minister, Raquyat Rufai for the provision of text books on Mathematics, English Language, Science and Technology.
Briefing journalists after the meeting the Information Minister said flanked by the education Minister and his state education counterpart, Nyesom Wike stated that the 400 million textbooks and other resource materials will be customized with the inscription: “FGN-UBEC 2012 intervention, not for sale” and state codes for easy tracing in case of diversion to unauthorised places will also be imprinted on these books.
The council also approved the contract to locally procure 40 utility vehicles for field works ahead of the 2016 national population census. President Jonathan gave the National Population Commission directives to procure the vehicles locally so as to encourage, develop and provide foundation for local manufacturers in the automobile industry.
The new NPC team is headed by former Managing Director of the Nigerian Breweries Limited, Eze Festus Odimegwu.
The president charged the NPC teamm on what he called two sensitive population issues, first is that they must ensure that every Nigerian gets his national identity card by 2015 and that they should set up a committee to advocate the need to manage the population.
He also expressed his desire to see the nation’s vast population and human resources, utilised as an asset for national development, “if properly managed”, he added.
President Jonathan told the new leadership of the NPC to find out how countries that have similar population as Nigeria are able to manage it in the same manner countries with small population have.
He urged the new commission to go beyond just census and come up with advocacy programmes that to encourage Nigerians to have the number of children they can manage.
Recalling that the last census was carried out with cutting edge technology, the president called on the NPC to do better by raising the ante.
The new chairman of the NPC and his commissioners later filed out in batches for the oath and signed the dotted lines as well as received the presidential handshake.
The new chairman in his address dispelled anticipated worries on how a former brewer will manage the affairs of the population commission.