The House of Representatives has asked the National Population Census (NPC) to suspend the planned population census, until the country stabilizes.
The lower chamber also resolved to invite the Chairman of the NPC, Nasir Kwarra, to brief the lawmakers on the possibility of organising a census in the face of growing insecurity.
The resolution was sequel to a motion of matter of urgent public importance, moved by Shehu Beji (APC, Niger) on Wednesday.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported that President Muhamadu Buhari approved N10 billion for the continuation of the Enumeration Area Demarcation (EAD) in 546 local government areas in the country. The EAD is a preliminary process in conducting a census. No date has been fixed for the planned census although the NPC said it has commenced preparations.
In his motion, Mr Shehu said that thousands of Nigerians have been displaced by the general insecurity across the country. He added that many people have been displaced to other neighbouring countries as refugees.
Countries that currently host Nigerian refugees include Niger, Cameroon and Benin.
Mr Shehu also said that “posting enumerators or ad-hoc staff to volatile areas of the nation in the name of conducting a census is irrational, as it would be like giving them out to criminals.”
He added that “conducting population and housing census in the current economic recession will only waste the hard-earned resources of this country as the outcome will be inconsequential.”
The 2023 election was also cited as a reason to postpone the election. Mr Shehu said the next general election is envisaged to commence and end within the first quarter of the year 2023. As such, the whole of the preceding year (2022) would mostly be about campaigns, which has no room for census activities, he said.
“The overlapping effect of active political activities and the national headcount shall be prone to political manipulation by over-ambitious politicians,” he said.
When the motion was put to vote by the Presiding Officer, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, the “ayes” had it.
Nigeria’s last population census was conducted in 2006. In 2019, the House had asked the federal government to conduct a census by 2020.
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