The National Population Commission (NPopC) says scarcity of funds has hindered it from completing the demarcation of enumeration areas of the country’s 774 local government areas in its pre-census exercise.

The exercise is in furtherance of efforts toward ensuring a successful national census in 2018.

The Chairman of the commission, Eze Duruiheoma, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja that the commission should have completed the demarcation of all the local government areas in the country already ahead of the census.

Cue in audio (Duruiheoma on funds’ scarcity)

“Preparation for a census worldwide – a period of 17 months – must go into planning; and managing a census exercise there are three important phases, what we call pre-census, census and post-census.

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“All these three phases must be planned for. Now pre-census – that is where we are supposed to be now – and in the pre-census period we ought to have by now completed the demarcation of enumeration of areas in this country.

“Honestly that has not been possible because of paucity of funds.

“Demarcating a country as vast as Nigeria is not something you just wake up in the morning and complete; it needs planning.

“Besides, we have taken a step ahead not part of what was done in the past by deploying technology.

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“We are relying essentially on satellite imagery for coverage of the country then deploy people to break them down into units for purposes of enumeration when the time comes.

“And using the resources at our disposal, we have been able to cover only 74 local governments out of 744.’’

Cue out audio

According to the commission chairman, the last census conducted in the country held in 2006 and going by the global convention as laid down by the UN, the exercise should hold every 10 years.

He said following the UN convention, Nigeria should have held another census in 2016, but could not do so because of inadequate preparations.

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The chairman disclosed that the commission had designed a programme for the conduct of census in 2017, which was presented to the government.

He said if the programmed was fully implemented, population and housing census would have held in the same year.

Duruiheoma said Nigerians remained major stakeholders in the process.

He, therefore, urged them to support the commission in its preparatory activities for the 2018 census.

He described the census as not just the counting of physical figures, but also the acquisition of records relating to the economic and religious status of all Nigerians.