From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has lamented that the high rate of insecurity which led to the attack and kidnap of its staff has hampered the operations of the bureau.
Speaking to Daily Sun in Keffi, Nasarawa State, during the annual conference of the Nigerian Statistical Association (NSA), Statistician General of the Federation, Prince Semiu Adeniran, who declined to give the specific number of staff who were attacked or kidnapped, said that it took the efforts of the community to ensure that the victims were released.
“I cannot give a specific number now. It is not all the time that we have our staff kidnapped. It happened in Katsina where the bandits kidnapped some of our enumerators in one of our surveys but the community, knowing the importance of why we were there rallied round and communicated with the bandits and the staff were released,” he said.
The bureau explained that the wave of insecurity reached $52 billion in 2017 and $119 billion in Africa, between 2007 and 2016, a situation that necessitated the economy and socio-economic group, including the statistical system competing for resources to drive the growth and development of their respective sectors.
“As I earlier pointed out, the wave of insecurity challenging the country is affecting all sectors including the statistical system. But how so? I believe this effect can be categorised directly and indirectly.
“First, insecurity affects us directly by impeding on our field operations. While we are increasingly generating a lot more administrative data, a significant proportion of statistics produced, approximately 60-70 per cent in NBS, is produced from surveys, census, or field data collection. This as you know involves sending enumerators across the nooks and crannies of the country, very often to remote areas and difficult terrains.
“Insecurity poses a serious challenge for the system in this regard, as several cases of attacks on the field staff, robbery and theft of survey equipment and kidnappings have been recorded. Also, there have been increasing numbers of inaccessible areas in parts of the country where enumerators are not able to go in for data collection. As an example, under a school-based exercise recently undertaken by NBS, head teachers and facilitators had to leave their communities and meet up with enumerators at the headquarters of the local government for interviews to be conducted because those communities were unsafe to visit,” he said.
Meanwhile, NBS yesterday, said that a survey it carried out shows that online media ranks 95 percent source of information for Nigerians between the ages of 18 and 50, followed by social media with 79 percent.
Others include, television, 61 percent and print media, 31 percent.
In his opening remarks at a retreat organised for journalists and the civil society organisations in Nasarawa State, Adeniran, said that with this population demography being the most politically and economically active and numerically significant, the information they get at any point in time is very important, given the potential impact it can have on the whole nation.