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Adopt administrative census, Statistician tells FG

Leading statistician, and the 2nd Vice-President, Nigerian Statistical Association (NSA), Dr Olusanya Olubusoye, has called on the Federal Government to adopt administrative census, to run away from the rigours of the current decennial, to gauge the nation’s population for effective planning and development.

In an interview Tuesday in Abuja, he said that decennial census was conducted every 10 years in most countries, but that Nigeria didn’t have any regular period for the exercise.

It would be recalled that the last census in Nigeria was conducted in 2006 and the government had shifted the project from 2016 to 2017 and now 2018 which may not be feasible because of the approaching election year.

Olubusoye said “It tells a lot about the country’s regard for the use of data for policy making, planning and development purposes,” stressing that “We should be looking at alternative ways of conducting census, considering the challenges we have had in the past, but the truth is that most countries are moving away from decennial census”.

“They are moving away from paper census that we use to do, where enumerators will move from household to capture information about individuals.

According to him, most countries, especially in Europe, had adopted administrative census.

“They now use existing information about the citizens and information that exists in administrative records.

“You will be surprised that everybody has information in one way or the other with one agency of government or the other,’’ he said.

He noted that administrative census has cost benefit over the decennial type as it will eliminate the manual way of conducting census.

In his views, “administrative census only needed to harmonise existing data”.

“For instance, data from BVN registration, voter registration, drivers’ licence, hospital records and National ID Card.

“You don’t need physical counting; most countries depend on those database, harmonise them and remove duplications, rather than waiting for 10 years.’’

He said that the cost of conducting physical counting was enormous, and that it was the reason why the country could not afford it.