Population Commission Confirms Readiness for Census, Residents Lament Low Awareness

Population Commission Confirms Readiness for Census, Residents Lament Low Awareness

The National Population Commission keeps confirming its readiness to hold the 2023 census but there are skepticism about its conviction. The census is proposed to commence on May 3, 2023 but apart from droplets of television adverts here and there, there hasn’t been much evidence on the ground to suggest the imminence of such an

The National Population Commission keeps confirming its readiness to hold the 2023 census but there are skepticism about its conviction. The census is proposed to commence on May 3, 2023 but apart from droplets of television adverts here and there, there hasn’t been much evidence on the ground to suggest the imminence of such an activity.

The population census is holding after 17 years of a similar exercise and worried by stories that the exercise has been postponed, the Population Commission on Wednesday issues a statement reaffirming its readiness.

In the statement signed by NPC’s Director of Census, Mrs Olanipekun Evelyn Arinola reads: “Please ignore any rumours spreading about postponement of National Population Commission’s training of LGA Supervisors and Enumerators.

“The Commission have come a long way to make such a tragic decision in that phase, it is total false. Accreditation still remains 11th and 12th April 2023 while training will start on 13th April and end 19th April. We are sorry for the inconveniences and we also assure you that perpetrators will be dealt with mercilessly”

On her part, the Lagos state Commissioner of the National Population Commission, Mrs Abimbola Salaudeen has assured the public of the Commission’s readiness to conduct the first digital and accurate census for Nigerians.

In an interview with NDR on Tuesday to inquire about the commission’s readiness in Lagos state, the commissioner stated that it has invested in planning and commitment by engaging active professionals across the state to ensure Nigeria has perfect records of its population.

The last population count in Nigeria was in 2006, and the next one was supposed to be in 2016, as stated by the law that the country should always conduct the count across Nigeria every ten years. Despite the fact that the country failed to conduct the census in 2016, the outgoing Buhari administration has insisted on conducting the census, which will take place from May 3rd to 7th, 2023.

Speaking about the commitment of the commission, Mrs Saludeen explained that the commission, from its headquarters, has distributed sensitive materials across the country to meet every logistical need for the process, adding that all of its staff have been trained for the past years to achieve all-around success during the census.

She indicated that Lagos is set to receive the complete gadgets to make the census seamless. She further noted that the classrooms for training the Adhoc staff are under inspection to give them a suitable environment to perform their duties.

“We are as prepared as much as the commission has prepared us, we have the PDAs and they are still bringing more some of our instruments are still coming in and we are hopeful that they will come in before Thursday. But as for NPC Lagos, everything the commission has said we should do that will make the census seamless and that will enable us to have an accurate census we have put in place. The classrooms for training are ready and we are going to inspect them to ensure that everything is put in place and that they are conducive”, she said.

She explained that the commission in Lagos has been working with the media to inform the public about the coming census, stating that the campaign about the process has begun in the local language for people to be aware of the development.

Explaining the essence of the census, Mrs Saludeen stated that the population census will help the country to extensively plan for the people and the country as a whole. She encouraged every citizen to cooperate with the commission through advocacy and collectivity to deliver perfect data on the population of the country. She pointed

“The press has been wonderful. As I speak now, we have divided our Comptrollers to speak to the press in their local languages so that people can understand them. Some are speaking in Egun, some are speaking in Awori, some in pidgin, and some in Hausa because we know that census is a local activity and people must understand it, what you and you will appreciate. And that is why we want everybody in Nigeria to understand the purpose of a census. It is to give us a better life. Nigeria has been grappling in the dark and this is our opinion as data people because no country can grow without accurate, data. You see, sometimes I ask: this question, how do we arrive at the budgetary allocation we have been making, they are just ordinary postulations.

“Census is like the oxygen that we breathe, and you know that without oxygen, people die. So we need it if we want this nation to grow and that is why we are so happy that it is coming after seventeen years, though belated, but better late than never, and what we are asking is that we have a digital census, we want to give an accurate census, but you see, the commission is just the manager of this project; the people are the owners of the census because it is going to save all of us because we are going to be counted as well. We, the people, must be willing to surrender ourselves to be counted.

“We did not have so much advocacy, and we are still having it. We still believe we need to do more in the area of advocacy; it is a major challenge because you know if people understand, they can even come out and say you know we don’t think what you are doing here is right why don’t you do this way, we are all Nigerians, we just want the country to be better we would listen if it is within our constitutional mandate to do what you are saying”, she concluded.

Residents Lament Lack of Awareness of Impending Census

Conversations with Lagos residents revealed that some of them are not well informed about the impending population census. In random interviews conducted within the city, from Surulere to the Ikeja axis, respondents informed NDR that they knew very little about the date and the manner in which the process will be carried out throughout the nation.

An individual who identified himself as Mr Sodiq, a repairman of generators, told NDR that he was unaware of any information regarding the census, and was not aware of the day the counting would be commencing. He added that the agency in charge has withheld the information about the general census from the public.

He, however, urged the government to extend its awareness to the length and breadth of the country for the citizens to participate actively in the process. “I am surprised that you just told me that we will have a census next month. I have not heard about it, and I listen to the radio regularly. The last time there was a census, I was young, and it is expected of them to let us know if another one is coming up.

“I think the government should try to make the information circulate better because I am certain most of my colleagues here who work here, are just like me, and do not know about it as well. By now they should have been spreading information about how the census works,”, he said.

In the same vein, Sussan Uche, a make-up artist in Ikeja told NDR that she was oblivious to the population census in the country. She further acknowledges the essence of the census in the country, urging the government to make the process more credible and transparent.

“I did not know there would be a census this year, the only thing we all heard about was the election, and that one has come and gone. May be the election did not allow us to get information about the counting, but I feel the people in charge should be talking about it more than before. I know that the census will allow the government to know our population and to plan for us, but if people do not know about it, how can we be convinced to follow the process.”

A corp member who spoke under anonymity noted that she was aware of the process, and added that the NPC has incorporated some of them into the system by asking them to serve as ad hoc staff. According to her, bringing the youth in to serve as part of the officials will further enhance the credibility and accuracy of the digital census the government is proposing.

“As a Corp member, I cannot say I have not heard about the population census coming up next month. In fact, some of us are going to be serving as ad hoc staff, but I really do feel the awareness programme for the coming census is enough. I think the government can do better to create awareness for households across the country, especially in Lagos. They can do that by bringing more young people into the system, since they say it is going to be a digital census, incorporating the youth into the system will improve the process.

Also, Mrs. Idowu, a trader, expressed her indifference about the population census, stating that the coming census might not change the narrative of governance in the country. She expressed her dissatisfaction with the results of the last census, saying they didn’t lead to an improvement in the nation’s circumstances. She also noted her indifference about the outcome of the coming census.

“I have been hearing about the census, they have come to my house to do some capturing, but I do not think the census will change anything about the country. The one we had back then, they promised us heaven and earth, they said it would make the price of things go down and our children would get jobs, but look at where we are today. They should just conduct the process and leave us alone,” she noted.

Mr Alade a fashion designer also stated his partial awareness of the population census. He indicated that although he has heard about the census, nothing more has been revealed about its process and when it will commence.

“Yes I have heard that there will be a census after the elections, but that is what we know. As I speak with you I do not know the date. I do not think they feel we need to know. Anytime they come around we will cooperate with them. Since it is just for them to count us, we will make ourselves available”, he sai

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