Daily Trust

Pre­par­ing for the next pop­u­la­tion cen­sus

- Nigeria Politics · Nigeria News · Overpopulation · Population Ageing · African Politics · Politics · Social Issues · Society · Muhammadu Buhari · National People's Congress · Abuja · Kaduna State · Kano State · Kano · Adamawa State · Benue State · Niger · Plateau State · Lagos · Ogun State · Osun State · Oyo · Anambra State · Enugu · Imo State · Akwa Ibom · Nigeria · Katsina State · Bauchi

Prepara­tory to the next pop­u­la­tion cen­sus in the coun­try, Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari re­cently ap­proved the sum of N10 bil­lion to­wards smooth­ing the pro­cesses lead­ing to the con­duct of a suc­cess­ful count­ing ex­er­cise in the coun­try. The Act­ing Chair­man, Na­tional Pop­u­la­tion Com­mis­sion (NPC), Dr Ey­i­tayo Oyetunji, who dis­closed this in Abuja at a press brief­ing on the com­mence­ment of the 10th phase of the Enu­mer­a­tion Area De­mar­ca­tion (EAD) ex­er­cise, ex­plained that the com­mis­sion has been im­ple­ment­ing the ex­er­cise in phases due to paucity of funds.

Dr Oyetunji said the 10th Phase of the ex­er­cise, which was due to hold between Oc­to­ber 5th and 29th, 2020, in­clu­sive of train­ing and field­work, would be con­ducted in 33 lo­cal gov­ern­ment ar­eas spread across 25 states and the FCT. The states are Ji­gawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Taraba, Benue, Niger, Plateau, Kogi, La­gos, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Abia, Anam­bra, Enugu, Imo, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Delta, Rivers and FCT. The EAD, which pre­cedes the real cen­sus, de­ter­mines the suc­cess of the cen­sus.

The NPC boss said Pres­i­dent Buhari also ap­proved the in­clu­sion of N4.5 bil­lion in the 2021 bud­get for the com­ple­tion of the ex­er­cise as part of prepa­ra­tions for the next cen­sus. “This mile­stone de­vel­op­ment un­der­scores the pres­i­dent’s un­der­stand­ing of the role of data, es­pe­cially de­mo­graphic data, as the bedrock for in­formed de­vel­op­ment plan­ning and al­lo­ca­tion of re­sources”, Oyetunji said. The NPC is re­spon­si­ble for pro­duc­ing data about the Nige­rian peo­ple and the coun­try’s econ­omy.

De­vel­op­men­tal ex­perts ar­gue that Nige­ria’s pro­tracted un­der­de­vel­op­ment is rooted in the lack of proper pop­u­la­tion fig­ures for the coun­try. This, they say, ac­counts more than cor­rup­tion and eth­nic­ity for the coun­try’s un­der-de­vel­op­ment. Ad­e­quate pop­u­la­tion fig­ures, for ex­am­ple, on the num­ber of school-age chil­dren en­able gov­ern­ment to fore­cast the num­ber of schools it re­quires over a given pe­riod.

Know­ing the size of the coun­try’s pop­u­la­tion is im­por­tant for proper plan­ning. Pop­u­la­tion sta­tis­tics con­sti­tute a ba­sic re­quire­ment for achiev­ing na­tional de­vel­op­ment. Some of the use­ful data gath­ered from cen­sus helps gov­ern­ment to, among oth­ers, fore­cast the coun­try’s needs such as hos­pi­tals, hous­ing, food, wa­ter and elec­tric­ity. Sim­i­larly, na­tional pop­u­la­tion data ob­tained from pop­u­la­tion cen­suses play an es­sen­tial role in es­ti­mat­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact on pop­u­la­tion growth, use of wa­ter, land and other re­sources.

Cen­sus data also re­veals the stan­dard of liv­ing of ci­ti­zens, num­ber of un­em­ployed per­sons, and the num­ber of tax­able adults. Be­sides, the deficits re­vealed in the coun­try’s in­fra­struc­ture by pop­u­la­tion fig­ures help to draw gov­ern­ment’s at­ten­tion to crit­i­cal ar­eas of de­vel­op­ment. They also at­tract the at­ten­tion of in­ter­na­tional donor agen­cies, who con­ven­tion­ally pro­vide hu­man­i­tar­ian in­ter­ven­tions to de­vel­op­ing coun­tries. Data gen­er­ated from pop­u­la­tion cen­sus is also used to de­ter­mine who gets what, when and why in the Nige­rian fed­er­a­tion. This partly ex­plains why peo­ple some­times at­tempt to in­flate or fal­sify pop­u­la­tion cen­sus fig­ures. States with lim­ited ac­cess to nat­u­ral re­sources tend to see the pop­u­la­tion ex­er­cise as a means to bridg­ing the gap cre­ated by ab­sence and/or in­ad­e­quacy of nat­u­ral re­sources.

Pop­u­la­tion is at the cen­tre of ev­ery plan­ning ac­tiv­ity. No mean­ing­ful de­vel­op­ment takes place with­out pop­u­la­tion cen­sus data. Pop­u­la­tion cen­sus is con­ducted in Nige­ria ev­ery 10 years. The pe­riod al­lows for cap­tur­ing the changes in struc­ture and move­ment of the pop­u­la­tion. Since in­de­pen­dence, pop­u­la­tion head counts have been held in 1953, 1963, 1973 and 2006; which was the last cen­sus ex­er­cise in the coun­try. The next was sup­posed to have come up in 2016 but was post­poned to 2018 and was fur­ther post­poned with­out any def­i­nite date fixed for the ex­er­cise. De­mog­ra­phers say Nige­ria’s pop­u­la­tion grows at an ap­prox­i­mate rate of three per­cent a year; mean­ing that the coun­try’s pop­u­la­tion is dou­bled ev­ery 22 years. To­day, Nige­ria is be­lieved to have a pop­u­la­tion of about 200 mil­lion peo­ple.

In or­der to al­low for proper plan­ning, we ad­vise gov­ern­ment to de­fine the ex­act pe­riod dur­ing which the next cen­sus would take place. This should be done in earnest be­cause it would be­come another sub­ject of po­lit­i­cal con­tro­versy if it gets close to the next gen­eral elec­tions due to hold in 2023.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria