The Nigerian Government has shifted the 2023 population census to May 2023.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed made this known on Wednesday at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
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The population and housing census was earlier scheduled for the end of March 2023.
According to the Minister, the decision to shift the exercise to May was because of the rescheduling of the Governorship and State Assembly elections to 18th March, coupled with issues of logistics procurement.
He also disclosed that the council approved the sum of N2.8 billion for the National Population Commission (NPC) to procure materials including some software to be used for the conduct of the census.
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He said: “There was a memo presented by the National Population Commission, seeking some software to allow them to conduct the census in May this year. I believe because of the rescheduling of the elections, they cannot commence the census as scheduled.
“They sought Council’s approval for a contract to procure software for the census at the sum of N2.8 billion.”
NPC had earlier planned to begin the national housing and population census by 29th March 2023.
Chairman of the Commission, Hon. Nasir Isa Kwarra, had hinted that the exercise may likely be put forward due to the postponement of the governorship and state assembly elections.
Kwarra, who spoke at the presentation of 16 Post Enumeration Survey (PES) laptops put at a cost of N2 million each to the National Population Commission (NPC) by the United Nations Population Fund (NPF), in Abuja, said that holding of the census is sacrosanct but the decision of when to hold it depends on President Buhari.
Meanwhile, the National Population Commission received a donation of 16 Post Enumeration Survey (PES) Laptops on Friday from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for the 2023 census.
Ms Ulla Mueller, the Country Representative, UNFPA Nigeria who presented the laptops to the NPC chairman said stressed that the census exercise is a priority national development activity worldwide that should be conducted at least every 10 years.
She stated: “Despite a seven years’ delay, the Nigeria 2023 Population and Housing Census is billed to be transformative in its agenda and process, buoyed by the extensive use of digital technology to ensure transparency and credibility as well as quality results.”
“The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is delighted to identify with the 2023 Census agenda, continuously providing an enabling environment to ensure that it is embedded in the SDGs framework, ICPD goals, Agenda 2063 and the Nigerian national development vision – all of which emphasize the dire need for up-to-date data pertaining to individual circumstances and ensure that we Leave No One Behind in making key decisions.
“As the Lead global partner, UNFPA brings to the Nigeria 2023 Census high level technical expertise, experience, comparative advantages in operational intelligence and best practices collated from decades of work in more than 150 countries.”
She noted that with the availability of the PES laptops Nigeria’s 2023 Census is bound to meet the global best standard and present the country and indeed the world with a tool needed for development.
“I’m aware that NPC has already put the right structures and work programme in place and are farther along in the process to ensure the successful implementation of the PES as well. Nigeria 2023 Census needs a good PES. It is to be understood that the PES, just like the Census, will be transformational – fully digital and employ methodological and technological innovations to guarantee quality and timely results, and conducted up to international standards,” Mueller said.
The Chairman of NPC expressed appreciation for the gift, noting that the gesture reaffirms UNFPA’s commitment towards the success of the “2023 Post Enumeration Survey (PES) and the 2023 Population and Housing Census (PHC) at large.”
He assured me that the laptops will be put to effective use in executing the agenda of the 2023 PES.