President Muhammadu Buhari said that the national census scheduled for 2023 will help combat insecurity in the nation.
President Buhari made this known on Thursday via a statement by his spokesperson, Femi Adesina after the 2023 Population and Housing Census summit for stakeholders.
The deployment of digital technology will ensure the census data is more accurate and effectively deployed to help combat insecurity.
“The country’s inability to conduct a population census in the last 16 years has created an information vacuum as the data from the last census conducted in 2006 has been rendered out of date for planning purposes,” the President said.
“It has therefore become imperative for the nation to conduct another national census to produce a new set of demographic and socio-economic data that will provide the basis for national planning and sustainable development.
“Population is a critical factor in a nation’s efforts toward achieving sustainable development. People are both the agents and beneficiaries of the development process.
“Knowledge of the national population in terms of size, distribution and socio-economic characteristics is required for planning purposes. This, therefore, makes the conduct of census an essential governance activity.
“With a projected population of 216,783,381, Nigeria is the sixth most populous country in the world and the most populous country on the African continent.
“Due to the rapidly growing nature of the population and large proportion of the youthful population, Nigeria is also projected to be the third most populous country in the World by the year 2050 after India and China.”
According to the President, population count has been conducted irregularly in Nigeria which is longer than the 10 years recommended by the United Nations.
He said: “This irregular and long interval of census taking in Nigeria, has denied the nation the huge benefits of comprehensive baseline data for evidence-based decision-making.
“Since our assumption of office in 2015, our administration has introduced several poverty reduction and youth empowerment programmes, which are making concrete improvements in the living standards of our people.
“There is a need to ensure that further implementation of these programmes will be driven by the 2023 Census data that will improve the implementation of programmes targeting vulnerable populations and ensuring as widespread coverage as possible.
“The nation requires a new data set to drive the implementation of the recently launched revised National Policy on Population for Sustainable Development and other government policies.
“The 2023 Census data is also needed to tackle the security challenges bedevilling the country as it will give an overview of the population, where we are and who we are.”
President Buhari called for support of stakeholders; State Governments, Local Government Councils, Traditional and Religious Institutions, Civil Society Organizations, Private Sectors, media, Development Partners, Donor Agencies and the general population.
“Ordinarily, conducting a population census is a routine national event that is the ultimate responsibility of every national government. Census taking cannot be left to the National Population Commission alone.
“Our Administration is convinced that the National Population Commission has the commitment and capacity to deliver to the nation a reliable, credible, acceptable and successful census.
“We are also satisfied with the deployment of technology by the Commission to ensure the conduct of the first fully digital census in Nigeria as the census methodology will enhance the data quality, inspire the confidence of the Nigerian people and acceptability of the results.
“The just concluded Trial Census, in which my household was enumerated in my hometown, Daura, Katsina State has renewed our hope and confidence in the capacity of the Commission to deliver the 2023 Census. The outcome of the preparatory activities for the main census is reassuring that the Commission is progressing in the right direction.
“We must all resolve that this duty is satisfactorily carried out in the firm belief that what has joined us together as a nation and our common destiny are far stronger than the negative forces that tend to drive us apart,’’ he submitted.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, who was represented by the Special Adviser to the President, Dr Habiba Muda Lawal, said that “Nigeria has a population growth rate of 2.3 percent, and would likely be the third most populated country in the world by 2050”.
The upcoming activity is expected to be the first fully digital population and housing documentation and the outcome would be useful for planning and budgetary allocations.
The Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, said President Buhari had once again proven that that he would leave a formidable legacy for the nation.
“This administration has proven that things can work in this country. We have seen it in the elections, that polls can be held without rigging. And we are happy to see NPC and INEC working together for a better Nigeria.
“We might not see the impact of some of the decisions taken, but certainly in the future we will see it, at least for the first time our homes will now be coded,’’ he said.