From Fred Itua, Abuja
Plans by the National Population Commission (NPC) to conduct a national population and housing census before the end of the Buhari administration might suffer a major setback if a national proclamation is not issued by the President.
The census exercise was last conducted in 2006 during the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo. According to a United Nations’ recommendation, every member-state is expected to conduct a national population and housing census every 10 years.
According to the law, the President is supposed to issue a proclamation, which in turn will kick start the process that will lead to the conduct of a national population and housing census.
Addressing reporters in Abuja on the commencement of the fieldwork for the 1st Pre-test ahead of the census exercise, NPC Chairman Nasir Isa Kwarra said indications show that President Buhari would soon issue a proclamation.
He, however, said President Buhari has not told him in private or in public that a proclamation will be issued soon.
Speaking on the Pre-test exercise, he said: ‘Pre-test exercise is usually conducted before the completion of the Enumeration Area Demarcation (EAD) exercise. In essence, Pre-test if a critical part of the census planning process which provides the opportunity to test all aspects of the census programme and instruments in advance of the main census activities, thus ensuring the smooth operation and success of the census.
‘The 1st Pre-test exercise will take place in 222 Enumeration Areas in 112 local government areas across the 36 States of the Federation and the FCT that were demarcated during the 2016-2018 EAD exercise.
‘We would like to caution that the Pre-test is not the actual census, but the mirror through which we can look at our readiness for the next census.
‘The conduct of the Pre-test is part of the preparation of the Commission to create a good foundation for the next population and housing census which will be credible, reliable and acceptable to the country and other stakeholders.’