The National Population Commission says it is hopeful that the President Muhammadu Buhari will soon announce a date for the population census.
The Chairman of the NPC, Nasir Kwarra, said this in Abuja on Thursday during a press conference at the commencement of the field work for the first pre-test of the population and housing census which commences on June 6, 2021.
The last census conducted by Nigeria was in 2006 during the tenure of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Population census is supposed to be held every 10 years but Nigeria has not fixed any date for the exercise since it was due in 2016.
However, the population commission has commenced preparation for the census, starting with the Enumeration Area Demarcation which involves dividing the whole land mass of the country into small units that could easily be covered by a team of enumerators during the census.
On whether the NPC had received any signal from the President on when the census will hold, Kwarra said he was hopeful that Buhari would soon issue a proclamation.
He said, “We don’t have such a commitment but so far we have seen changes in the body language of the government. Before now, the funding of even the Enumeration Area Demarcation was very lean but now we have been given the marching orders to complete the entire local governments in the country.
“I am quite sure that Mr President will make his proclamation at the appropriate time. The essence of the Enumeration Area Demarcation, whether there is a census or not, places Nigeria on a high pedestal. There are so many things that we can do with what we already have but I am quite sure that at the end of the day, Mr President will make the proclamation on when to conduct the census.”
He said the NPC had also assisted the Independent National Electoral Commission with information which aided INEC’s delineation of electoral wards and constituencies.
The NPC revealed that the commission had intensified the Enumeration Area Demarcation activity with 630 local government areas successfully demarcated, adding that the remaining 144 local governments would be demarcated within the next three months.
“The pre-test exercise is usually conducted before the completion of the Enumeration Area Demarcation exercise.
“In essence, the pre-test exercise is a critical part of the census planning which provides the opportunity to test all aspects of the census programme and instruments ahead of the main census activities to ensure the smooth operation and success of the census,” Kwarra stated.