The House of Representatives yesterday urged the Federal Government to halt its plans to conduct national population and housing census in the country in view of the lingering insecurity in many parts of the country. This followed the adoption of a motion brought by Hon. Shehu Barwa Beji (APC, Niger) at the plenary session. Beji, while moving the motion under matters of urgent public importance, noted that the Federal Government, through the National Population Commission (NPC) has commenced preparations for 2021 population and housing census across the country. He further noted that the state of insecurity in Nigeria has displaced numerous citizens who are dwellers of various communities to be captured in the exercise.
The lawmaker further observed that some displaced persons have crossed over to neighbouring communities for refuge and cannot be captured if the census is to be conducted. He argued that with overwhelming security challenges at hand, expecting accuracy in any census conducted now would be like passing an elephant through the eye of the needle. He also noted that in the circumstance, a large chunk of Nigerians have fled their homes while many others are being held under captivity by kidnappers. “As such, conducting such census without them means infringing on their constitutional rights” he said.
The lawmaker also posited that posting enumerators or ad-hoc staff to volatile areas of the nation in the name of conducting census is irrational as it amounts to giving them out to criminals. He further averred that conducting population and housing census in the current economic recession will only waste the hardearned resources of the country and the outcome will be inconsequential.
He also informed the House that the Nigerian Presidential election is envisaged to commence and end within the first quarter of 2023. As such, the whole of the preceding year 2022 would mostly be about campaigns by politicians and political parties. He added that the overlapping effect of active political activities and national head count shall be prone to political manipulation by overambitious politicians. Thereafter, the House, presided by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, unanimously adopted the motion through a voice vote.