The National Population Commission has hinted that the conduct of the population census and head count for all Nigerians slated for 2016 might not be a reality after all due to poor budgetary allocation for the exercise.
The commission also called for a review of The National Policy on Population to accommodate current realities “in view of recent changes in the demographic profile of the country”.
NPC said, “The review is to assess the performance of the programmes outlined in the policy and also to respond to emerging national and international issues in population and development. We are currently leading the review process”.
The NPC Chairman, Chief Eze DuruIheoma (SAN), expressed these views on Thursday in Abuja during a press briefing in commemoration of the 2015 World Population Day, with the theme, “Vulnerable population in emergencies”.
The NPC boss advised that if truly Nigerians want the conduct of 2016 national census, they must clamour for it just like they did during the recently concluded general elections.
A former chairman of the commission, Chief Festus Odimegwu, had said over N200bn would be required to carry out the 2016 census exercise that would be universally acceptable to correct the mistakes of the past.
DuruIheoma, who insisted that the fate of the conduct of 2016 census rests solely on Nigerians and the Federal Government, made a case for provision of needed funds for the exercise.
He said, “I want to remind us that censuses are supposed to be held between five and 10 years after the previous one. Now, the previous census in Nigeria took place in 2006. A maximum of 10 years will take us to 2016. That is why we are sticking to the 2016 date. That is when the next census is due in this country.
“Population census is an exercise that involves Nigerians. Look at the way Nigerians reacted to the last (2015) election. They demanded that they wanted it; the next thing after the elections ought to be the national census. We want it to be in the consciousness of Nigerians. The last one took place in 2006. Ten years after, we want to know how many we are.
“Our duty here in the NPC is to help Nigerians realise this goal. We are ready to heed the call of Nigerians. Whatever they want us to do, we will carry out their wish. If they want us to carry out the exercise, we will”.
The NPC boss, who decried the pitiable conditions of Internally-Displaced Persons, called on Nigerians and relevant agencies of government to protect the rights of victims of insurgency in the North-East.