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Nigeria must stop guessing own population – Reps

The House of Representatives on Wednesday urged the Federal Government to fix dates for national census scheduled in the fourth quarter of 2019.

The lawmakers lamented that different figures were being bandied around as government has failed to count its own people many years after the last exercise.

Under “Matters of Urgent Public Importance”, Rep. Ossy Prestige (Abia-APGA), harped on the need to conduct the census for proper planning and development in Nigeria.

Prestige quoted United Nations Fund for Population Activities as saying that Nigeria had a dynamic economy and large population expected to double in the next two decades.

He said that census was pivotal and necessary tool for the growth of any emerging society, which in turns informed decision-making at all facets of public and private sector.

Prestige pointed out that the last census was held in 2006, and that the nation’s population then was estimated at 140,431,790 million with estimated growth of less than three per cent yearly.

The lawmaker expressed concern that the lack of up-to-date and accurate data on the population in Nigeria had affected national planning and development at all levels that culminated in human and agricultural insecurity in Nigeria.

He said that a census based on biometric data would capture all Nigerians, adding that it would also help to solve problems of infiltration and internal security including kidnapping, terrorism and armed robbery.

The motion was unanimously adopted by members when it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara.

The House, therefore, urged the government to make provisions for census funds in 2019 Budget and also appealed to international communities to support same.

It further asked the Federal Government to mobilise the NPC for the completion of Enumeration Area Demarcation and preliminary preparation of the census.

The House also mandated its Committee on Legislative Compliance to liaise with the NPC for strict compliance and report back to it for further legislative action.

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