Saturday, July 13, 2024

Census plans set; we’re waiting for Tinubu to give approval: NPC

“We are just waiting on the president to give us the date, and the commission is always prepared to do it once we have a date declared by the president,” said the NPC chair.

• July 8, 2024
Photo used to illustrate the story [Photo Credit: Nigerian Finder]

The National Population Commission (NPC) is prepared to conduct the national population and housing census but is awaiting President Bola Tinubu’s approval for a date, its chairman, Isa Kwarra.

Mr Kwarra said this on Monday in Abuja at a media conference to herald the commemoration of World Population Day 2024, marked yearly on July 11.

This year’s celebration is themed “Embracing the Power of Inclusive Data Towards a Resilient and Equitable Future for All.”

Mr Kwarra said the United Nations recommends that censuses be conducted every 10 years.

“The 2020 census round is ending this year. We will be making a hypothesis to make sure that we conduct the census before the 2020 round of the census comes to an end.

“I want to believe that we will get it right; we are just waiting on the president to give us the date, and the commission is always prepared to do it once we have a date declared by the president,” Mr Kwarra said.

He said extra hands could be recruited with the available resources, just as he assured of a robust exercise.

“The resources should be able to recruit extra hands to help us conduct a very robust census that will provide inclusive data that is not just verifiable but will be acceptable to all.

“If we start now, we can achieve it; at least the 2020 round of census gives us an opportunity to extend up to April 2025,” the NPC chair said.

He, however, said the commission would prefer to carry out the exercise in November, as that was what was planned earlier in the year.

Speaking about the importance of conducting the census, Mr Kwarra said it would enable the nation to have the right information, evidence and data for measuring and predicting likely demographic shifts.

“Also, to implement interventions that will create opportunities for progress and remove barriers and inhibitions,” he noted.

The Country Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Gifty Addico, said timely censuses would provide the baseline data needed to track progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Represented by the deputy country representative, Koessan Kuawu, Mr Addico said it would also help to formulate policies that addressed the diverse needs of Nigeria’s population.

“In Nigeria, our delay in generating timely inclusive data through the population and housing census and other exercises has masked the progress made, so much so that obsolete data is being used to assess our progress towards the SDGs.

“Hence, a timely population and housing census represents a critical opportunity.

“As we prepare to enter a new 2030 round of population and housing censuses, we must ensure that our data generation exercises are prioritised and conducted timely and regularly,” he said.

The chairman, Association of the Advancement of Family Planning (AAFP), Ejike Orji, said that having committed more than 70 per cent of the resources needed for the census, if the exercise were not carried out, Nigeria would lose a lot.

“So that is why we are appealing to the government to make sure this happens. If it doesn’t happen, we’re in trouble,” said Mr Orji.

Speaking to the theme of the day, the Statistician-General of the Federation, Adeyemi Adeniran, Nigeria’s population, which was both diverse and vibrant, presented both immense opportunities and significant challenges.

However, he said that to harness the full potential of the demographic landscape effectively, the nation needed data that was not only comprehensive but also inclusive.


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