The chairman of the Public Affairs Committee of the National Population Commission (NPC), Eyitayo Oyetunji has implored Nigerians not to leave their residence during the population census.
According to the United Nations population agency, UNFPA, Nigeria’s population is estimated to be 216 million and projections, estimate the nation’s population could hit 400 million by the year 2050.
With one month away from the national population census, Mr Oyetunji said the need for accurate information is vital for effective planning and movement will affect this collation.
“We don’t encourage anyone to move anywhere, the census essentially is to collect information for planning purposes and to provide amenities infrastructure you have to have accurate information of the people in an area.
“A census is not a census except everyone is counted and that is our cardinal objective, to ensure that everyone is counted once and in the right place, a census must have universality for it to be a census, every part of the country must be covered and that is our intention,” he said this during a live appearance at Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily on Monday.
The chairman also noted that the transparency of this exercise would be able to counter misconceptions and distrust adding that it would foster the development of the government for the people.
“The census is not how many we are, the census primary is to give the basis that will help any administration to provide a better quality of life for the people and to do that, a government requires information, not just about how many persons they are, what are their needs, what is their present status.”
“A new administration requires data to plan, to succeed, to start. You need a blueprint of what people ought to administer, where they are, how many they are, and what they require. Ideally, that is what we should start with.
He also stated that the act of citizens deserting their residence to elsewhere would defeat the census process.
“It is counterproductive to leave your place and go to your village, it won’t help because the appropriate development planning that should be made for you where you are would not then be made.”
Eyitayo also noted that the census process was not aimed at distorting the election outcomes but at achieving its objective.
“Because of our circumstances, it’s not too surprising that people would want to read the meaning. We ensured that we insulated the census process from the election process.
“That is why we had to wait until after the last elections just to ensure that nobody says that the plan is to use the outcome of the census to influence the outcome of the elections. The elections have been conducted and concluded and then the census is coming.”
He enjoined Nigerians not to distort the process through travel, adding that it would curb the criminalization of census.
“Don’t make effort to go elsewhere, you go to school where you are, you use water where you are, you use water where you are, you go to school where you are, you participate in the economic activity where you are and all that is the information we want to collect during the census so that it can enable the administration.”