Reps demand suspension of proposed 2022 census

THE House of Representatives has asked the executive arm of government to suspend the proposed 2021 census due to insecurity.

The decision was made following a motion moved by a member representing Bosso/Paikoro Federal Constituency of Niger State Shehu Beji, during the House plenary on Wednesday.

Beji said several factors would work against the accuracy of the figures that would be obtained and the overall success of the exercise due to the state of insecurity in Nigeria.

According to the lawmaker, the safety of enumerators would not be guaranteed in many parts of the country while many households could also be unwilling to make family members available for enumeration because of fear of the unknown.

He added that it would be ‘unwise’ in the prevailing circumstances to post enumerators to some parts of the country currently considered to be volatile.

He further stated that if many locations would not be reached by enumerators, that was enough reason to suspend the planned exercise. Beji prayed the Green Chamber to call on the executive to suspend the exercise until the security of the country stabilised.

After the motion was moved, a majority of the Representatives who were present at the plenary voted in support of the motion.

Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila passed the resolution following the votes of the members.

The Lower Chamber also invited the Chairman of the National Population Commission Nasir Isa Kwarra to explain the feasibility of conducting a population and housing census in the country amid the current security challenges.

Many parts of Nigeria have been bedevilled by crisis ranging from terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, to abduction and ethnic crisis.

Boko Haram terrorist group has taken over some territories in the northern part of the country while many have been displaced in the South-West due to Fulani/herders crisis.

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) recently said about 65,000 persons were on the move following a series of attacks by armed groups on Damasak town, Borno State.

The last national census conducted in Nigeria was in 2006, during the Olusegun Obasanjo administration.

The NPC estimated the population of Nigeria to be around 206 million.

    The 2006 Nigerian Census has been largely disputed by many Nigerians, including a past head of the NPC.

    A former Chairman of NPC Festus Odimegwu had said no Nigerian census had ever been credible, including the 2006 conduct.

    “No census has been credible in Nigeria since 1816. Even the one conducted in 2006 is not credible. I have the records and evidence produced by scholars and professors of repute; this is not my report. If the current laws are not amended, the planned 2016 census will not succeed,” Odimegwu had said.

    Odimegwu was sacked a few days after he made the comment about the Nigerian population.

    Lukman Abolade is an Investigative reporter with The ICIR. Reach out to him via [email protected], on twitter @AboladeLAA and FB @Correction94

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