The Senate yesterday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to issue a proclamation for the conduct of 2018 population and housing census.
It asked the President to release funds for the exercise.
The last census was held in 2006 during former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration. The United Nations (UN) advised that census be conducted every 10 years.
The Senate resolution followed a motion:
“A call for the Federal Government to expedite action on the planned 2018 National Census,”
sponsored by Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi (Kaduna North) and four others.
Hunkuyi noted that Section 24 of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution (as amended) empowers the National Population Commission to produce demographic, socio-economic and health data through the conduct of census survey, vital statistics (registration of births, deaths, migration) and other related activities in Nigeria.
He said census was necessary for any nation’s socio-economic growth.
The senator added that it was in realisation of this that the UN recommended that census be conducted every 10 years.
Hunhuyi, who chairs the Senate Committee on National Population Commission, said he was aware the last census was conducted in 2006, precisely 10 years ago.
He added that another census, in line with the UN mandate, should have been done this year.
The senator expressed concern that in accordance with best international best practice, a well-planned and executed census should take a minimum of two years.
He said it would be pertinent subsequent census be carried out on time.
Hunkuyi said he was concerned funds for the 2016 census was appropriated by the National Assembly in 2013, 2014 and 2015, with poor cash backing.
The lawmaker prayed the Senate to urge the President to issue a proclamation for a population and housing census in 2018.
Senator John Enoh (Cross River Central) urged relevant government agencies to include the cost of conducting the national census in the 2017 budget.
Senator Emmanuel Bwacha (Taraba South) noted that
“if the number of people killed by Boko Haram in the Northeast was to be disclosed, Nigerians would be shocked.”
He urged the Senate to support the motion and ensure that funds were released for the national census.
On his part, Senator Robert Ajayi Boroffice (Ondo North) said there was no reason why funds should not be released to NPC for the census. He insisted that resources on the ground should be used to conduct the exercise.
Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, who presided, noted that as the country approached the next census , NPC must take advantage of technology to make the census acceptable.
Ekweremadu said NPC should ensure every Nigerian was counted and that the outcome not disputed as the last exercise.
By: Onyedi Ojiabor