Promoting Good Governance.

What is Nigeria’s real population figure – 195m or 198m?




“Nigeria remains the most populous in Africa, the seventh globally with an estimated population of over 198 million,” Eze Duruiheoma, Chairman of National Population Commission (NPC), announced to the world last month in New York, United States of America.

Duruiheoma was speaking on Sustainable Cities, Human Mobility and International Migration at the 51st Session of Commission on Population and Development.

Back home in Nigeria, his pronouncement about the country’s population figure unsettled not a few Nigerians especially when he added that recent ‘World Population Prospects predicts that by 2050, Nigeria will become the third most populated country in the world.’

Presently, with the figure of 198million, Nigeria is ranked 7th most populous country in the world.

How did NPC arrived at this figure, can this figure be relied upon, why are there other conflicting figures, and many more questions have been asked by worried Nigerians, particularly that the Commission did not conduct any population census to arrive at the estimate?

Nigeria last conducted a population census in 2006 after which the country’s population figure was put at 140million. Statutorily, another population census was due in 2016, ten years after the last exercise but the Commission failed to conduct the head count.

Whereas, on the official website of NPC, there’s only population clock that reveals Nigeria’s population as 198000221. There are no other indicators that a visitor to the site can interrogate to arrive at the population figure.

So it is worrisome, that in spite of the impacts of insurgency in the North east Nigeria where over 100,000 people have been killed and over a million have been displaced, the Commission did not explain how it arrived at the figure.

“The Boko Haram insurgency has led to deaths of almost 100,000 persons going by the estimates of our community leaders over the years,” said Kashim Shettima, Governor of Borno State.

“Two million, one hundred and fourteen thousand (2,114,000) persons have become internally displaced as at December of 2016, with five hundred and thirty seven thousand, eight hundred and fifteen (537,815) in separate camps; 158,201 are at official camps that consists of six centres with two transit camps at Muna and Customs House, both in Maiduguri.”

There are also many unreported and unrecorded deaths and births across the country which the NPC probably did not take into account also.

This explains why Victor Giwa, National Coordinator of Advocates for Peoples Rights and Justice, faulted the census figure.

He said since no official census exercise has been conducted since 2006, the figure released by NPC cannot be tenable.

“NPC is the  Commission that statutorily keeps records of all the births of the citizens in Nigeria. They should ordinarily have the records of Nigeria. The last population census was conducted 12 years ago. The records he quoted is presumptuously about 30 per cent correct. He is giving the figure of what is available to him as chairman of the commission.

“That can’t be the legal census of Nigeria. Our capacity to know the true records of the number of people we are in Nigeria is still very weak. They have not conducted any recent census to have arrived at that figure they gave. The figure is faulty and it won’t work. The records are questionable since there is no proper record,” said Giwa.

However, websites such as Wordometers, World Population Review and others like Nigerian Muse, estimate Nigeria’s population to be 195million. Each of these sites quoted United Nations Department of Economic Affairs’ world population projections.

“The current population of Nigeria is 195,123,177 as of Friday, May 11, 2018, based on the latest United Nations estimates. Nigeria population is equivalent to 2.57 percent of the total world population.” Wordometers reveals.

 In contrast, the  World Population Review estimates the total population of citizens in Nigeria to be around 166.2 million in 2012, going by data collected by the Nigeria National Bureau of Statistics.

Back in 1960, when the country declared its independence from the United Kingdom, the country recorded an estimated 45.2 million people. Therefore, between 1960 and 2012, there has been a change of about 268 per cent.

In 2016, the population was estimated to have risen above178.5 million, as against the 186 million projection by the United Nations.

“The entire population of Nigeria accounts for about 2.35% of the entire earth’s population. This means that about 1 out of every 43 people in the world call Nigeria their home.” World Population Review said

Below is the Nigerian Population Clock by World Population Review

The population of Nigeria (as of 5/11/2018)?


Last UN Estimate (July 1, 2018)


Births Per Day


Deaths Per Day


Net Migrations Per Day


Net Change Per Day


Population Change Since January 1st


Issa Aremu, a member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the General Secretary of the National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers (NUTGTWN) also said Nigerians must believe NPC’s figure.

He said Nigeria’s high population is an asset, and implored the federal government to deploy it for the economic advancement of the country.

“We must translate the quantity to quality population through education, employment and investment in their health and well-being. Nigeria is still small compared to China and India‎.”

 NPC Director General,Ghaji Bello, said in 2017 that the commission might conduct census in 2018, and according to him, the proposed census would cost an estimated N272 billion.

“Ordinarily, it ought to have a cycle of its own and that cycle should be five years or 10 years.

“We should have conducted the last census in 2016 but for a variety of reasons outside the control of the population commission, we were unable to do it,” he said.

But it is also unlikely NPC will conduct the census in 2018 because there is no allocation for it in the budget,

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