Disturbed by the calls to postpone the 2023 Census, the National Population Commission (NPC) has informed that adequate measures have been put in place to ensure the smooth conduct of the Population and Housing Census slated to be conducted from 3rd to 7th May 3 to 7.
The Executive Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, and the President of Middle Belt Forum, Dr. Bitrus Pogu, have called on the Federal Government to postpone the Census, citing fear of exclusion of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the exercise.
Both Governor Orton, Dr. Pogu, and other stakeholders have asked the Federal Government to provide adequate security for the IDPs in Benue and elsewhere in the country to enable them to return to their usual places of residence before the Census can be conducted.
According to Governor Ortom, close to two million indigenes of Benue State who are in the IDP camps would not be counted if the Census holds as scheduled.
But the NPC Director, of Public Affairs, NPC, Dr. Isiaka Yahaya, said yesterday in Abuja that the Census methodology has a robust and tested procedure for the enumeration of the IDPs in Nigeria, which is also in line with the international best standard.
“The methodology devised is not just for counting persons in regular households but also for those who stay in irregular households such as people in transit, homeless persons, and temporary living camps. The census questionnaire will elicit information on the usual places of residence of people in IDP camps, which is where they stayed before the displacement.
“This data can be accessed in case of a possible change in status to aid the planning process of their respective usual places of residence. It is gratifying to note that every land area of the country including the IDP camps has been demarcated into Enumeration Areas (EAs).
“The mandate of the enumerators during the census period will be to count every person in the assigned Enumeration Areas and the aggregation of all the persons counted during the census will constitute the population figures of Nigeria.”
He added: “The prevalence of the IDPs rather than being ground for postponement of the 2023 Census should actually be the reason for census taking. The 2023 Census will generate demographic data that governments at all levels, private sectors, international development partners, and relief agencies will require to plan for the provision of food items, empowerment, and social facilities to people in IDP camps.”
The Commission, therefore, solicits maximum cooperation and support from all residents of Nigeria in its effort to conduct the first digital and green census by presenting themselves to be counted in the exercise once and truthfully.