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Review NPC Act to make census mandatory every 10 years—Dev. Economist

As many Nigerians were gearing up for a national census in 2016, federal government all of a sudden quashed the plan and shifted it to this year.

Only last week, federal government, again shifted the scheme to 2018.

The last census in Nigeria was in 2016, under former President Olusegun Obasanjo administration.

Speaking to Business Hilights in an exclusive interview, a development economist, Dr. Umar Abubakar said shifting census in a developing economy like Nigeria is planning to fail because it means that all the development programmes of the government are based on assumption and estimation as the exact population the infrastructures are made for are not known.

Explaining more, he said “The National Assembly need to review the national Population Commission (NPC) Act to mandate the conduct of census every ten years.”

“Apart from reviewing the Act, the lawmakers must look at the constitution and amend the necessary section dealing with census to compel every ruling government to conduct census every 10 years without option of postponement.

He charged the newly inaugurated board members of the commission to work towards the enshrinement of census in Nigeria every 10 years in the constitution to avoid toying with development statistics like census.

It would be recalled that the Vice president, Wednesday inaugurated the new board of NPC shortly before the commencement of Federal Executive |council meeting.

The candidates sworn in were nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari last year and screened by the Senate.

The commissioners are; Eyitayo Oyetunji, Oyo; Ukpom Ukpong, Akwa Ibom; Haliru Bala, Kebbi; Patricia Uche, Benue and Gloria Izonfuo representing Bayelsa State.

The swearing in of the commissioners is coming on the heels of delay of a new population census in the country.

The national census exercise was scheduled for last year, 2016 and the National Population Commission (NPC) had said Nigeria needs about N222billion to conduct a thorough and efficient national census but lacked the funds. The exercise was postponed to 2017 then to shifted again to 2018 for paucity of funds.