A representative of Ajaokuta Federal Constituency, Idirissu Lawal, has urged the Federal Government to take urgent steps towards the conduct of a credible census in the country within the next one year.
Lawal, who is House Chairman, National Population Commission (NPC) told The Guardian in Lokoja yesterday that it was foolhardy for Nigeria to continue to guess its population, saying the development had hampered proper planning and given the country a negative image.
Speaking against the backdrop of a bill to amend the NPC Act, which he sponsored and which passed second reading on Tuesday, Lawal said he believed that President Muhammedu Buhari would be interested in conducting a census for the country.
The Kogi House of Representatives member argued that the best way to set Nigeria back on the path of recovery, especially with the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic, was to secure an authentic and verifiable population figure through the conduct of a valid census.
He urged the Federal Government to immediately commence preparation for the conduct of a comprehensive national census before the end of 2021, saying the exercise was long overdue.
“It is extremely important to conduct a new national census, the last one was conducted in 2006 and 14 years is too long a time for such exercise. It does not augur well for us as a country to rely on projections by foreign bodies on its population figures for planning.
“Population census is an important national assignment because its figures are critical for national planning. The lack of accurate data on the nation’s population has been affecting national planning and development at all levels.
“The Federal Government should come up with a comprehensive timetable for the conduct of the census. Most countries that know the importance of census conduct the exercise every 10 years. Without a census, and accurate data of the number of people in a country, no government can provide adequately for its citizens,” he stressed.