Sami Olatunji, John Charles, Adeyinka Adedipe, Daud Olatunji and Tunde Oyekola
Less than a week to the commencement of the national population and housing census, there are rising indications that it may be shifted due to funding and other logistic barriers.
However, the Chairman of the National Population Commission, Nasir Isa-Kwarra, has disclosed that the commission will meet with the Federal Government on Friday to validate the date for the national population and housing census.
He said, “The census date is fixed for May 3. We are meeting with the government finally to validate that date tomorrow (Friday), and hopefully, we will be able to let the world know if that May 3 stands or should be shifted.”
He made this disclosure during a meeting with the Diplomatic Corps in Abuja on Thursday.
Isa-Kwarra also said that there would be a restriction on movement during the first three days of the National Housing and Population Census.
The NPC chairman said, “Restriction of movement is often considered as important during enumeration to enhance full coverage of the population. This measure will go a long way to control individual mobility and as such, enumerators are able to meet the households in their residences. The restriction also helps to check double enumeration as it reduces the chances of persons moving from one location to another to present themselves for enumeration more than once.
“The National Population Commission plans to request the Federal Government of Nigeria for restriction of movement during the first 3 days of Census enumeration.
“For the 2023 Population and Housing Census, it is scheduled that the first 3 days of enumeration fall on weekdays preferably, Wednesday to Friday so that enumeration can be rounded off in the last two days at the weekend.”
He, however, said that diplomats and all those who would be on essential duties are to be exempted from restrictions.
The NPC chairman further disclosed that the commission had yet to get all the devices needed to carry out the census, noting that some devices will be procured in a few days’ time.
“For the country, we require up to 800,000 PADs, so far, we have procured about 500,000. The remaining are coming in a few days’ time,” Isa-Kwarra said.
Contacted, the Director of Public Affairs, NPC, Isiaka Yahaya, to speak on the possibility of the census holding, but he said, “No comment”.
However, he affirmed that there would be a restriction of movement during the census when a date is fixed.
On the donations for the census by the private sector and other key stakeholders, he said.
But you know the way they operate, it is not as if the money will come like that. They have to talk with their own government and look at their budget. So, that process is ongoing. But we cannot say any money has come in. It is a process, and the process is unfolding.”
A source close to the NPC officer in Edo revealed that the date was likely to be shifted as the Commission is yet to conclude training the supervisors and other key officers that will take part in the headcount exercise.
He noted that the national office would inform all state offices about this development and announce a new date for the exercise.
“I can tell you that the census will likely be shifted as the supervisors and other key officers that will take an active part in the head count are yet to be fully trained. However, the commission will announce a new date soon,” the source stated.
Also, the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday, declined a request seeking an order postponing the 2023 Census slated to hold from May 3 to 5.