No Accurate Population Data – Senate Committee

No Accurate Population Data – Senate Committee

The Chairman of the Senate committee on National Identity and National Population, Senator Abdul Ahmed Ningi, has lamented the absence of accurate population data to plan Nigeria.

He also regretted that successive administrations have relied on inconsistent numbers making it difficult to arrive at a strategic plan for the future.

Addressing a delegation from the National Population Commission (NPC) led by the Chairman, Nasir Isa Kaura, Senator Ningi said, “public analysts say that Nigerians are over 200 million. Some would say 220. Just yesterday I heard that we are over 250 million”.

“All those things are mere guess works. And it is the population commission that is saddled with the constitutional responsibility to do that. And that has been actually emphasized by an Act of Parliament. I want to prepare your mind as to the assignment before us. It is not an easy assignment, it is not an any how assignment. It has to do with the future of this country, and how we move as a nation. If we want to belong to the comity of nations that make impact in the world, we need to know what we are doing, we need to know our capacity. And without knowing who are we, and how many are we. We can’t continue to guess” Senator Ningi said.

  • He further revealed that population census“is not about how many christians are in Lagos, how many Muslims are in Lagos. How many Yorubas, how many Igbos. That is not the importance of population census. It has to do with preparation for tomorrow. It doesn’t matter who you are. We go to Alaba market, Muslims, Christians. So, if you say how many Christians go to Alaba market, how many Muslims go to Alaba market, what is importance of that. Whatever comes to Lagos, Lagosians share whether Christians or Muslims. So, these are all small, small things that makes the issue of census or public account a very major dogma” he said.

Senator Ningi further explained that Nigerians over time continue to contest census figures, as he urged the delegation to take the need for an accurate census to the grassroots.

A member of the committee and the Senator representing Jigawa Northwest, Senator Babangida Hussaini (APC), in his contribution he stated “a different look of what population census is all about,” as he regretted that the current centralized approach is not achieving the desired effect for the nation.

He highlighted migration and emigration as challenges facing proper census in the country.

Senator Hussaini also insisted that measures need to be put in place for the proper policing of the country’s 927,000 sq kilometre of land to check illegal immigrants.

Today, our borders are as open as the sky. These are issues that are germane to population growths, to plan cities, to issues of education, security, water, name it.
So, I think the starting point is for us to appreciate what population census is all about” he said.

For her part, Saidat Olayinka Oladunjiye, President Bola Tinubu’s nominee as NPC Commissioner for Lagos State assured the committee of a rich guideline to guide the NPC towards a successful enumeration exercise.

She explained that the commission would deploy the Geographic Information System (GIS), adding that“the population census we are going to have this time is going to be one of the best in the country because like you said data is blood”.

She also revealed that the commission has robust plans for capturing of children in the upcoming exercise.

“I want to say with all sense of humility, having served as commissioner twice in the state, I know how it is, and I know how to get things done. I know the indices of how to access children. I want to say to you that in Lagos State I have access to my colleagues as commissioner that I could leverage on, to get things done” She said.

According to her, the next population census would be the best in the history of the country, maintaining that NPC would embark on capacity building for staff, as well as partnering with local government administrations to ensure the success of the exercise.

On religion, she underscored that the commission will emphasize on competence, adding that “once you’re competent you’ll get the job.”

“We know what we are going to do. We have the template. We have the programme. We are going to work with all relevant government agencies – ministry of education, health, environment, local government chairman, local government ministries, the ministry of information to get the necessary information out. So, at the end of the day the population census is going to be the best” She said.

On low technology penetration in parts of the country that may hamper the deployment of the GIS for the exercise, Oladunjiye revealed that the commission would adopt same strategy used by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the use of the Biomodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for election.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *