President Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday, said the planned population census, is set to give Nigeria a better structure for the government and help fight poverty and insecurity in the country.
He said this while lamenting the lack of up-to-date information since the 2006 census which he argued has hampered the country’s national planning.
Buhari who acknowledged that Nigeria could rank third largest country in terms of population by 2050, after China and India, said a “reliable, credible, acceptable and successful census’’ will enable the government to plan for development, especially in bolstering the social security programme that targets more vulnerable Nigerians.
The President said this in a statement titled, ‘How we can have more accuracy in 2023 census – President Buhari.’ signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, during his keynote address at the National Stakeholders’ Summit on the 2023 Census, held at the State House Conference Center, Abuja.
According to Punch News, The President said the deployment of digital technology in the 2023 National Population and Housing Census will ensure effectiveness and more accuracy in the figures that will come out of the exercise.
He said, “The country’s inability to conduct a population census in the last 16 years has created an information vacuum as the data from the last census conducted in 2006 has been rendered out of date for planning purposes.
It has therefore become imperative for the nation to conduct another national census to produce a new set of demographic and socio-economic data that will provide the basis for national planning and sustainable development.
Population is a critical factor in a nation’s efforts toward achieving sustainable development. People are both the agents and beneficiaries of the development process. Knowledge of the national population in terms of size, distribution and socio-economic characteristics is required for planning purposes”.
With a projected population of 216,783,381, Buhari noted that Nigeria is the sixth most populous country in the world and the most populous country on the African continent.
He added that due to the rapidly growing nature of the population and large proportion of the youthful population, Nigeria is also projected to be the third most populous country in the World by the year 2050 after India and China.
He said “This irregular and long interval of census taking in Nigeria, has denied the nation the huge benefits of comprehensive baseline data for evidence-based decision-making.
“Since our assumption of office in 2015, our administration has introduced poverty reduction and youth empowerment programs, which are making concrete improvements in the living standards of our people.
Buhari further argued that the nation requires a new data set to drive the implementation of the recently launched revised National Policy on Population for Sustainable Development and other government policies.
He said the 2023 Census data is also needed to tackle the security challenges bedeviling the country as it will give an overview of the population, where we are, and who we are.
The President, therefore, called for the support of stakeholders, which include State Governments, Local Government Councils, Traditional and Religious Institutions, Civil Society Organizations, Private Sectors, media, Development Partners, Donor Agencies, and the general populace for the successful conduct of the 2023 Census.