From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Government has said it is targeting to hold national census on April 2023 after the general election, slated for February and March 2023.
National Population Commission (NPC) is to conduct Pilot Census in June after political parties primary elections. The last census was held in August 2006.
Its Director General, Nasir Isa-Kwarra, made the disclosure at the end of the Council of State meeting, Presided over by President Muhammedu Buhari.
He disclosed that the commission will deploy high technology in the conduct of National Census.
He said through census data is generated for planning, noting that the data currently being used are mere projections and obsolete.
Isa-Kwarra said: “It is very crucial because I have highlighted that the Census is a very important exercise for the nation. Because through census we generate the data that we use for policy making, for planning, for development, by the three tiers of government, and the private sector, they all need this.
“If you are a private sector, you’re producing something, certainly, you need to know the population of an area if you want to create a market there.
“So census data is very crucial, very important. Because, the data we’ve been using are just projections, estimation and are sort of obsolete, we need the actual census data to use for our planning.“
Jigawa State Governor, Abubakar Badaru, on his part disclosed that Buhari will meet security chiefs on Tuesday next week over worsening security situation following recommendations and comments by council of state.
Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, on his part said the Council of State approve 159 out of 162 applications presented for consideration for perogative of mercy for convicts and inmates in correctional centers.
The Council, he said rejected proposal to grant pardon to one of the prisoners sentenced to 120 years for stealing over N25 billion. The reason for seeking for pardon was because of life threatening illness.
Although the AGF didn’t mention the name of the convict, a source privy meeting said, the person in question is former MD of Bank PHB, Francis Atuche.
The second person was converted for forgery, sentenced for 14 years and has stayed in prison for a year and six months.
The third person was obtaining money by false pretense and was sentenced for seven years.
Minister of Special Duties, George Akume, said the council approved the conferment of National Honours Award on 434 Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in the various field of endeavours.
Earlier, the meeting observed a minute silence in honor of former head of interim government Ernest Shonekan who died on January 11 2022.
This is the fourth time the president will preside over the meeting, with the first being held on October 21, 2015 and the second on September 7, 2016 and the third was held virtually in August 2020.
The Council of State is an organ of the Federal Government saddled with the responsibility of advising the executive on policy making matters.
Members of the council include: President Vice President, past presidents, Senate President, House of Representatives Speaker, Chief Justice of Nigeria, serving and past. Others are Attorney General of the Federation, all State Governors and the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Those in attendance at the meeting were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Secretary to the government of the Federation Boss Mustapha, National Security Adviser Babagana Monguno, and Chief of Staff to the President Prof. Ibarahim Gambari.
Former heads of state physically in attendance were Gen. Yakubu Gowon, General Abdusalami Abubakar and Goodluck Jonathan.
Others attended the meeting virtually from their various locations. State governors in attendance are Hope Uzodimma (Imo), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Bello Matawalle (Zamfara), Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna) amongst other. Other governors attended virtually.