Why Nigeria should conduct census soon — NPC chairman

The Honourable Nasir Isa-Kwarra, Chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC), emphasised the urgency for Nigeria to conduct its National Population and Housing Census to align with the 2020 round of censuses.

Speaking at the NPC headquarters in Abuja during the 2024 World Population Day commemoration themed ‘Embracing the Power of Inclusive Data Towards a Resilient and Equitable Future for All’, Isa-Kwarra expressed the readiness of the commission pending approval from President Bola Tinubu.

Isa-Kwarra highlighted the importance of having up-to-date and inclusive data, stressing that conducting the census promptly would provide essential information crucial for planning and policy formulation.

He assured reporters that the NPC is fully prepared to execute a comprehensive census that utilises modern technology to ensure accuracy and broad acceptance.

“If we start now, we can achieve it. The 2020 round of censuses allows us until April next year, and our target is November this year pending presidential approval,” said Isa-Kwarra.

He acknowledged the necessity of conducting censuses as recommended by global bodies for accurate demographic insights and informed decision-making.

“We are prepared to commence once authorised by the president and adequately resourced to ensure comprehensive data collection,” Isa-Kwarra affirmed.

He underscored the census’s role in providing data essential for addressing diverse population needs and implementing targeted interventions aimed at fostering progress and removing barriers to individual potential realisation.

“Nigeria needs to strengthen its data-generating institutions, adequately fund periodic data collection exercises that are inclusive and comprehensive, and most importantly, provide a legislative frame to engender the timely conduct of censuses as well as promote the use of these data to guide policy decisions.

“Some of the key messages to reflect on going forward include that inclusive and reliable data and evidence can enable ascertaining a peaceful and prosperous future and the building of resilient systems and societies; Data collection and analysis tools should be deployed to facilitate good representation and use of data. Nigeria should champion data collection that counts people in their diversity and in all their complexity; that our data collection exercise, particularly for the upcoming Population and Housing Census, would be inclusive and leave no one behind.”.

Nigeria, Isa-Kwarra said, was among nations that did not have sufficient, comprehensive, and inclusive data to evaluate its performance, achievements, or challenges during the regional review of AADPD+10 and for ICPD@30 PoA reporting during the 57th Session of the Commission on Population and Development early this year.

He said: “Therefore, I wish to reiterate that the theme calls for the evaluation of our data-generating systems and institutions; our perceptions on issues of data and has raised a concern we should not ignore, but collectively (government at all levels, individuals, the Civil Society Organisation (CSOs), partners, donors, and leaders of religion, culture, and tradition, including the private sector), resolve it in the shortest possible time.”

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