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Population Association tells Buhari to conduct census in 2018

  PAULETTE ORJIME, Abuja

Population Association  of  Nigeria (PAN)  is  calling  on  President  Muhammadu  Buhari  to  consider making a proclamation for the conduct of a National Population and Housing Census in 2018 and provide for the necessary support for the smooth conduct of the exercise. In a statement obtained by Daily Champion in Abuja and endorsed by Prof. Peter Olasupo Ogunjuyigbe , President, Population  Association of Nigeria,  PAN, noted that in line  with the United Nations Recommendation, the next census ought to have been conducted in 2016, being 10 years after the 2006 Census.

However, further delay in the conduct of the next census beyond 2018 may undermine the planning process of the nations march towards sustainable development.

PAN reiterated that no country can make any tangible progress towards sustainable development without timely, reliable and accurate census figure. For any developmental planning, census figure is paramount.

Population is dynamic and with the continuous inter-play of migration, mortality and fertility, population of an area will witness either an increase or decrease. So it becomes imperative for all nations to conduct census regularly.

PAN noted that in spite of the recent proclamation of National Assembly towards the conduct of another census in 2018, there is nothing on ground to show that government is committed or is on the same page with National Population Commission.

The Proclamation by Senate to have another census in 2018 is still waiting for the assent of the President without which international agencies are not likely to declare their own support for the exercise.

PAN acknowledged the dwindling resources at the disposal of the  Federal Government occasioned by recession and the huge resources required for the next census. However, this short term cost consideration  should not prevent the nation from considering reaping the long term benefits of the census.

PAN also  noted  that  the  Change  Mantra  of  the  present  government  in  terms  of  prudent  management  of resources and the call by  the House of Representative on Independent  National Electoral Commission (INEC)  to  create  new  constituencies  cannot  be  realistic  without  a  fresh  census  figure  to  reflect  the necessity or otherwise of such exercise.

The  Association  expressed  confidence  that  the  biometric  based  census  being  proposed  by  the Commission, if professionally and honestly handled, will produce authentic and verifiable demographic data and nip in the bud any tendency towards double or multiple enumerations of persons as alleged in virtually all past national censuses.

The Association noted that  the  Commission has commenced preparatory  activities  for  the  next  census with  the  Enumeration  Area  Demarcation  (EAD)  of  one  LGA  in  each  of  the  States  and  Abuja  using satellite  imagery.

The  meticulous  manner  the  exercise  is  being  carried  out  will  deliver  an  accurate, reliable and acceptable census frame if it is properly handled and can be completed within the year 2017.

So, if the next census exercise is to be in the year 2018, one should be seeing the sign now; the horizon is not clear enough for anybody to see what government is doing towards having a credible census in 2018 as recommended by National Assembly. It normally will take nothing less than two years to plan for a census that will worth its salt for a country as huge as Nigeria. Census is not a simple exercise.

In  Nigeria,  much  emphasis  is  placed  on  absolute  number  of  persons  residing  in  politically defined administrative  area,  forgetting  the  other  invaluable  role  of  census  figures  even  for  political  activities. Information collected in a Census is a comprehensive source of data for developmental planning and goes beyond the comparison of which State or LGA has higher population size.

It remains for any nation a very important data source that has not been replaced yet by any other source.

Without accurate census, governments at various levels will continue to base their plans on estimated or projected figures. This is always argued as one of the main reasons why Nigeria as a nation has not been able to make tangible progress in all facets of its developmental planning.

The international agencies will however not support the forthcoming census unless government commitment to the next census is ascertained through a presidential proclamation on the next census.

We, therefore, respectively, call on our President to consider conducting the next national population in the first quarter of 2018 or as early as seen to be most convenient to the government.

 

For a better society.

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