Senate on Tuesday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to issue proclamation for another population cencus in 2018.
Preparatory to the exercise, the Senate accordingly called on the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), the National Population Commission, Ministry for Budget and National Planning and other supervising agencies to make adequate provision in the 2017 budget as a critical prerequisite to achieving the 2018 population census.
These were fallouts of Senate’s debate on a motion moved to that effect by the Chairman, Senate Committee on National Identity and National Population, Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi (APC Kaduna North) and four others.
Hunkuyi in the motion said since section 24 of the 1999 constitution (as amended) empowers the National Population Commission (NPC), to undertake the production of demographic, socio-economic and health data through the conduct of census surveys, vital statistics and other related activities in Nigeria, the commission should be mobilized by the federal government to carry out its constitutional mandate ten years after the last one has recommended by the United Nations Organisation (UNO).
He called for appropriation of adequate funds for NPC in the 2017 budget in readiness for the exercise, saying “in adequate funds for the preparation process towards the earlier planned 2016 population census appropriated by the National Assembly in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 appropriations with very poor cash backing, resulted in the failure of carrying out the exercise this year.
According to the him, the Presidential proclamation which is a prerequisite commitment for the take off of a census exercise, when made, will facilitate donations for the exercise by international donors.
Senator John Enoh (PDP Cross River Central) who seconded Hunkuyi’s motion, said all issues that made previous headcounts in the country to be contentious, should be taken care off ahead of the 2018 exercise.
In his own contribution, Senator Akpan Bassey (PDP Akwa Ibom North East), said the exercise was very necessary as far as indices for national planning and development were concerned since according to him, “If you fail to plan , you have planned to fail”.
Also lending his voice for conduct of the exercise in 2018, Senator Jibrin Barau (APC Kano North), said census exercise is sine qua non to robust planning by any Nation driving towards development.
‘This motion should be seen as a wakeup call for us all by ensuring that adequate money is provided for the exercise is provided for in the 2017 and 2018 budgets”, he said.
In his remarks after the resolutions, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu who presided over the session said Nigeria must take advantage of relevant technological devices in ensuring accurate head count in 2018 in avoiding disputed exercise of the past. “We must ensure that every Nigerian should be counted and results released later should tally with census taken”, he said.