From Fred Itua, Abuja
Nigeria’s estimated 200 million population figure, on Tuesday, took centre stage on the floor of the Senate. According to a senator, the figure is unverifiable and does not represent the true number of the country’s population.
According to the National Population Commision (NPC), Nigeria’s current population figure stands at 200 million. This is despite the fact that Nigeria conducted its last population census 15 years ago during the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The controversy was sparked on the floor of the red chamber when Adamawa Senator Dahiru Aishatu Binani made a derogatory remark concerning the population figure of Bayelsa State while leading her debate on a bill for an act to provide for the legal framework to establish the Federal Medical Centre in Mubi, Adamawa State.
While making the case for the establishment of the institution, Senator Binani had said that Bayelsa, the smallest state in Nigeria in terms of population, can be overlooked, unlike Adamawa.
She said Bayelsa has only eight local government councils and that a substantial part of it was covered by water.
Her comment, however, did not go down well with the former governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Henry Seriake Dickson. Senator Dickson, who was visibly angry, queried the population figure of the country and concluded that it was a fraud.
He said Bayelsa is bigger than many states in terms of landmarks, adding that the state is disadvantaged because it did not have one of its own as a military head of state. The senator said Adamawa was lucky to have been awarded more local government councils.