From Okey Sampson, Umuahia
Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Abia State chapter has appealed to Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), not to interfere in the 2023 census to ensure correct census figure for not only Abia State, but the entire South East.
Speaking during the Abia State stakeholders summit on the 2023 population census, in Umuahia at the weekend, NLC chairman in the state, Obi Igwe said he was making the appeal following what happened during the 2006 census when a pro-Biafra group dissuaded the Igbo from coming out to be counted.
Obi who said this contributed to the low population figure ascribed to Abia, pleaded for such not to be allowed to repeat itself.
He promised to mobilise the 45 trade union affiliates of the NLC in the state to come out and be counted during the exercise.
Federal Commissioner representing Abia State at the National Population Commission (NPC), Chief Nwabuisi Nwanne said those agitating for Biafra should have no reason to disrupt next year’s census in the state, since it was also in their interest.
“We had a situation in 2006 where a group agitating for Biafra sold a dummy to people in the state not to present themselves to be counted during that year’s census exercise as they were not Nigerians and that impacted negatively on the state population after the exercise as it made Abia to be under-counted.”
Nwanne said the beauty of next year’s exercise was that even if any group was clamouring for a referendum for Biafra, the population the world body would rely on, would be that conducted by Nigeria.
“Even if any group agitating for Biafra is clamouring for a referendum, the population the United Nations will be relying on for such exercise, will be the one conducted by Nigeria and that is why everybody should come out and be counted instead of the other way round.”
Nwanne said to ensure a credible census figure, and for the first time in the history of Nigeria, the Commission was going to do away with paperwork, but will be going digital, anchored on Personal Data Assessment (PDA).