Opinion

Population and its sustenance through ICT

July 11 annually is invariably commemorated as World Population Day. This signifies that, over the weekend, the world over marked the 2020 edition of the worthwhile event amidst the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

 

The commemoration is as approved by the United Nations (UN). At such a time, the UN mandates all Member States to use the period to create possible awareness regarding the essence of the human population towards ensuring that it is duly sustained.

 

Population unarguably remains the most integral part of the anticipated developmental stride of any society. It is so, because, it’s one of the major factors that determine the society’s net worth. It’s noteworthy that it is only human population that bears such idiosyncrasy.

 

Two prime factors – natural and human resources – determine the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of every nation. It’s pertinent to acknowledge that the aforementioned recipes are interwoven.

 

Natural resources obviously require human resources before it could be harnessed. Thus, without the latter, the former would remain crude or useless.

 

This is the reason discerning leaders of any nation or society fiercely safeguard as well as sustain the nation’s human resources.

 

A country’s resources can only be adequately managed by ensuring effective and efficient sustenance of its human population. Towards a holistic sustenance of a given population, it’s imperative to note the rudimentary factors that affect population growth, which are: birth rate, death rate, and migration.

 

Having carried out the census of a country’s population, there’s need to checkmate the above factors in order to subsequently boast of a robust and reliable database.

 

The point is that, a reliable population record cannot be sustained without involving the Information and Communications Technology (ICT). Ranging from census to update, each of the exercises involved requires proper utilization of the ICT for laudable functionality.

 

Owing to the overwhelming impact of the ICT on every activity pertaining to population management, it’s high time the National Population Commission (NPC) started deploying its use in the agency’s dayto- day obligations. It’s appalling that the NPC cannot even boast of a reliable database as regards Nigeria’s population, let alone sustaining it.

 

The authority needs to comprehend that the nation requires a standard population record with a view to boosting its socio-economic status, and such can never be obtained without a tangible database.

 

Among all, a database cannot currently be considered viable if ICT isn’t utilized. In other words, the concerned quarters are expected to embrace the said digital system wholeheartedly, considering that it is the only way forward. In view of the above, our pattern of population census must be reviewed in earnest.

 

Hence, as the next Nigeria’s population census is fast approaching, I enjoin the NPC to strategize in order to ensure that ICT is fully inculcated in the overall scheme, so that, at the end of the national exercise, the country can boast of a comprehensive IT-based population database.

 

Prior to the commencement of the exercise, the NPC should endeavour to establish an independent ICT-oriented department/ unit. The unit ought to be entitled to a well-experienced and reliable director.

 

The unit should equally constitute personnel that are knowledgeable enough in the field of ICT. Inter alia, there should be an agency that would oversee/monitor the day-to-day running of the unit toward ensuring efficiency. After conducting the census, there would be need for constant and consistent thorough update of the database, and such needs to be done by the ICT unit.

 

The records need to be updated by subsequently observing the earlier mentioned fundamental factors that affect population.

 

A tactical approach cum policy ought to be employed toward ensuring that the overall birth rate and death rate occurring in the country is regularly gathered, regardless of the locality where the event took place.

 

Hence, every maternity and mortuary operating across the federation must be duly certified by the NPC whereby every child delivery or corpse deposition, as the case may be, would be instantly reported to the commission via the respective ICT departments of the said centres.

 

To this end, in event of home childdelivery, such case needs to be reported to any nearest maternity for onward documentation. Similarly, whenever one dies but his/her corpse isn’t taken to the mortuary, the bereaved family is required to report such incident to a closest mortuary.

 

This implies that henceforth, any maternity or mortuary that isn’t recognized or approved by the NPC must be shut down indefinitely; such monitoring would equally require setting up of a mobile committee by the commission that would regularly oversee the existence cum activity of all maternities and mortuaries. Regarding migration, the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) is meant to work hand-in-hand with the NPC. The cooperation or synergy would help to invariably update the latter on immigration cum emigration matters. However, stringent policy must be made to make this formidable. Research has proven that only existence of a formidable policy can guarantee apt and adequate sustenance of any practice in any given society. It’s worth noting that overtime most Nigerian systems have collapsed owing to lack of wholesome policies.

 

The above proposed relationship between the NIS and NPC would only be effective and easy by involving the ICT. Involvement of the digital system would ensure that the required data or information is invariably supplied without any form of delay. Moreover, the NPC’s IT-department ought to continually make use of worldclass softwares. The softwares must be designed by the department’s staff for privacy sake.

 

The unit should also have classic anti-hacking softwares as well as experts. All in all, an all-inclusive statistics of Nigeria’s population can only be properly sustained via the effort of the ICT coupled with viable policies.

 

Since the country possesses all it takes to make the project feasible, it’s preposterous to hesitate in applying the available resources. Think about it!

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