The house of representatives has asked the federal government to suspend the planned national census over Nigeria’s security challenges until the country stabilizes. At Tuesday’s plenary session, the green chamber said the census scheduled for this year should be put on hold until the country’s security situation improves. The lawmakers also invited Nasir Kwarra, chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC), to appear before them over the feasibility of conducting the census in the face of insecurity. The resolution followed the adoption of a motion sponsored by Shehu Beji from Niger state. Beji said the current insecurity had displaced numerous citizens, dwellers of various communities, to be
captured in the exercise.
The lawmaker said that some displaced persons had even crossed over to neighbouring countries for refuge and would not be captured if the census was conducted.
He noted that with the overwhelming security challenges, expecting accuracy in any census conducted would be ‘like passing an elephant through the eye of a needle.
Beji said the insecurity in the country has displaced many residents of villages that ought to be captured in the census.
“In the circumstance, a large number of Nigerians have fled their homes, while many others are being held captive by kidnappers.
He said some of the displaced persons have migrated to neighbouring countries to seek refuge and would not be captured if the census is conducted.
“With the overwhelming security challenges at hand, expecting accuracy in any census conducted now would be like passing an elephant through the eyes of a needle,” he said.
“In the circumstance, a large chunk of Nigerians have fled their homes, while many others are being held under captive by kidnappers. As such, conducting such a census without them means infringing on their constitutional right.
“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.”
Beji further said going ahead with the exercise will only waste Nigeria’s hard-earned resources and that with the 2023 general elections around the corner, a national headcount “shall be prone to political manipulation by over ambitious politicians.”
“That past census conducted had yielded controversial statistics for the nation as a result of partial coverage of the actual population of the country which we must not be allowed to perpetuate,” he said.
The motion was adopted after it was put to a voice vote by the speaker Femi Gbajabiamila.