Vociferous Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and human rights activist, Chief Mike Ozekhome, has observed that because of manipulation of previous census results, Nigeria has remained the only country in the world where human population in grassland and desert areas exceeds those of wetlands.
Addressing newsmen in his office on the heels of the recent statement made by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, wherein he called on the chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC) to shelve the conduct of the proposed 2018 national census, the human rights lawyer alleged that previous censuses conducted since the amalgamation of the northern and southern regions of Nigeria, have always been manipulated to favour the North.
In his submission, “All the censuses we have ever had in this country have always been manipulated. They have never reflected the true population of Nigeria. This is the only country in this world where the population in the dry region is higher than those in the wetlands”.
Dogara had argued that politicians will take advantage of the census exercise to cook up figures and manipulate the outcome of the 2019 general election.
But Ozekhome, said it is wrong for states “laying the golden eggs to have fewer local government areas,” revaling that “This is because of our attachments to national resources”. “Look at this. The old Kano was divided into Kano and Jigawa states. As I speak, Kano State has 44 local government areas, while Jigawa has 27. National resources sharing are based on this.
“Let us look at Bayelsa. Bayelsa lays the golden egg, but it has only 8 local government areas. If Bayelsa lays the eggs, where is the justice in this country, when those who do not lay the eggs get the lion’s share?
“When Dogara is afraid of census before 2019 elections, I sympathise with him. He knows that census is an explosive matter in this country.
“The former chairman of National Population Commission (NPC) said previous censuses were false, he was sacked because certain parts of this country did not like what he said.
“I agree with the speaker that the census should not be held. The 2019 elections are almost here. Let the census be held after the 2019 elections. If its held, it will be manipulated by politicians. The same politicians can even use the census exercise to disrupt the conduct of the 2019 general election.”