In a significant development, the House of Representatives has taken a proactive step by mandating its Committee on Population to conduct a thorough investigation into the financial allocation and utilization concerning the postponed 2023 Population and Housing Census. The probe will be directed at the National Population Commission (NPC), and its primary objective is to ensure the successful execution of the census when rescheduled.
Furthermore, the House of Representatives has issued an urgent call to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to set a definitive date for the forthcoming population and housing census, emphasizing the need for accurate data to facilitate precise economic planning.
These resolutions were made following the adoption of a motion titled “The Need to Investigate the Expenditure on the Postponed 2023 Population and Housing Census by the National Population Commission and Conduct of the National Population/Housing Census.” This motion was presented by Hon. Dominic Okafor and Hon. Patrick Umoh.
Okafor, in his presentation, highlighted the critical role of census data in development planning, policy formulation, resource allocation, and government program implementation. He underlined its relevance, particularly at a time when the federal government and state governments are actively working on providing relief to vulnerable citizens and enhancing other social services.
He also pointed out that the last national census in Nigeria was conducted in 2006, and the postponement of the 2023 census by the NPC raised concerns regarding the validity of the 2006 data for contemporary national economic policies. The lawmaker disclosed that the NPC had already spent a substantial portion of the budget allocated for the 2023 population and housing census, which amounted to 200 billion Naira out of an 800 billion Naira budget.
Okafor stressed that the delay in conducting the census could impact the accuracy and relevance of the data collected, potentially leading to an increase in the costs of gathering fresh information. He urged swift action to prevent the resources invested in the planning of the 2023 census from going to waste.
Notably, the NPC Chairman, Alhaji Nasir Isa Kwarra, has expressed the commission’s readiness to conduct the population and housing census during a recent visit to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on July 6, 2023.
In addition to the investigation and call for a census date, the House of Representatives urged the federal government to establish Census Tribunals in designated centers in accordance with Section 28 of the NPC Act, 2004. The NPC was also encouraged to continue its preparations for the 2023 Population and Housing Census. These measures aim to ensure the timely and successful execution of this critical national endeavor.