Chairman National Population Commission, NPC, Eze Duru Iheoma, has declared that the much-awaited 2016 census would not be feasible due to funding challenges facing the Commission.
The Chairman who made the declaration in an interactive meeting with newsmen in Abuja, said although the Commission “has made serious preparations towards the 2016 census, it can only be conducted in 2017, if the necessary funding is made available to the Commission.”
The chairman, who was represented by the commissioner representing Enugu state in the commission, Dr Festus Uzor, said census required the minimum of two years to be planned, adding that the exercise “can only be feasible in 2017 if Commission has the necessary funding.”
He said, “We set out planning for the 2016 census because going by the United Nations principles and guidelines for census that it should hold between five and 10 years, the principles of 2020 round of census which falls 2016 in Nigeria going by the fact that the last census held in 2006. But the reality on ground is that it requires a minimum of two years to plan the census if even if we have all the money.
“If all the money required for it is given to us today, we will not be ready by 2016 to do a good job and it is our position in the commission that we rather not do a job than to do a bad job; that will be a waste of national resources.
“So, the chairman has said that 2016 is not realistic, not that we don’t want to do it, but the earliest time that it can hold is 2017 provided all preparations will be in earnest.”
He said, “This time the commission would embark on a technology-driven census that will incorporate the biometric features of the individuals which are the physiological attributes that makes the person unique.”
He said where an individual was counted more than once, the system would cancel the one in excess and considers only one saying that there would be no ghost counting in the next census.
According to him, the census problem of the country has always been the issue of credibility based on its auditability and that the problem will be eliminated by the use of biometrics.
He said, “Our census problem has been its credibility based on audit ability. So the next census will be auditable because the biometric parameter we’ll capture will ride on the biometric technology we are going to put in place to ensure that nobody is counted two times and no ghost is counted.
“When something is credible, it will be more acceptable both locally and internationally and when your data is credible and reliable when you plan based on it your result will be better because you are planning for the correct number of people.”