The House of Representatives has charged the Federal Government to conduct a national population census in 2020.
The call followed the adoption of a motion at the plenary on Wednesday titled ‘Need to Commence the Long Overdue National Population Census in Nigeria.’
Adopting the motion, the House urged the National Population Commission to come up with a feasible timetable “for the conduct of the census not later than year 2020.”
The House also urged the Federal Government to “provide necessary logistics for the conduct of a national census in 2020 as a way of ending the uncertainties surrounding Nigeria’s actual population.”
The lawmakers also resolved to set up an ad hoc committee to liaise with the NPC, the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and Planning; and the National Bureau of Statistics “to work out modalities on how to conduct a census in 2020 and to liaise with other foreign donors such as the UNFPA, EU, USAID, UNESCO and AU for necessary support for the exercise.”
Moving the motion, Ademorin Kuye, stated that a population census was an important national assignment because its figures were critical for national planning and it was for this reason, among others, that most countries of the world carry out this exercise once every 10 years.
Kuye pointed out that without a census and accurate data of the number of people in a country, no government can provide adequately for its citizens as the government requires data to know the number of children being born, the number of schools and hospitals that will be needed, how many workers are in a given town and how many foreigners are in the country, for proper provision of infrastructural facilities.
The lawmaker said, “Most times, Nigeria’s population is predicated on projected figures provided by foreign organisations like the United Nations, thus making planning extremely difficult in the absence of a population census, which the NPC would have been ready to conduct every 10 years as is obtainable in other countries, but it is now left to the whims and caprices of the government.
“The House is concerned that the last national census was conducted in 2006 and until it becomes mandatory to conduct census at given intervals like elections, Nigeria will continue to have delays in organising national census.
“The House is further aware of the extreme importance of conducting another census to ascertain the country’s actual population in order to do away with projected figures, a development that will enable the government to plan better for the citizens. The House is worried that if adequate measures are not put in place where population census is conducted periodically at least once every 10 years, Nigeria will be lacking in the statistical data of its citizenry either politically or economically.”
The lawmaker also pointed out that lack of accurate data on the population of Nigeria had been affecting national planning and development at all levels.