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VIEWPOINT: 2018 Census To Gulp N223bn - Nigeria

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The chairman, National Population Commission (NpopC), Chief Eze Duruiheoma, has disclosed that over N222.9 billion will be required to ensure a successful conduct of the 2018 census.

He said paucity of funds and persistent underfunding of the Commission’s activities were the major hindrances to the successful execution of the national census, which had being delayed since 2016

Chief Duruiheoma revealed this when he received members of the Senate Committee on Population and National ID Card on an oversight function to ascertain the preparedness of the commission towards the 2018 census. He said the commission was fully aware of the enormity of its constitutional responsibility of managing the nation’s population.

He took advantage of the visit to brief the lawmakers on the commission’s level of preparedness as well as its constraints in the said venture.

“The census was supposed to be conducted in 2016 but due to the non-availability of resources, it was shifted to 2017. We presented a budget that should accompany it but, again, the releases didn’t justify that proposal and we had to revise our calendar and came up with 2018. For that purpose, we are proposing three sub heads of pre-census, census proper and post-census activities to gulp 222.9 billion.

“So far, a total of N2.17 billion out of N4.4 billion budget of the commission for 2016 has been disbursed, tagged ‘for the preparation of census.”

He further emphasised the need for the timely provision of funds in the commission’s activities.

“Adequate and timely release of funds is one critical issue that defines the success or otherwise of a census programme. The commission is in dire need of accommodation, both at the headquarters and the state offices. The permanent site of the headquarters has been under construction for the past 19 years, and, as a result, the state commissioners are using the conference room as their temporal office,” he said.

Duruiheoma called on members of the committee and all relevant stakeholders to offer tangible support and guidance to the commission in its bid to deliver an accurate, reliable and acceptable census in 2018.

While reiterating the Commission’s effort to transform the nation’s population into a veritable asset, he said that the commission plans to conduct a biometric census that will capture facial impression and fingerprints of respondents, thereby putting a lid on allegations of double, multiple and ghost enumeration.

In his response, the committee chairman, Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi, said that part of the duties of the committee and indeed the National Assembly is to ensure that the commission has the wherewithal to conduct the 2018 census.

“Sometime early last week, we moved a motion calling on Mr President to make a proclamation on the conduct of the census since it has not been part of legislation embedded in the constitution.

“I can assure you that the Senate is articulated, resolved and prepared to apply itself wholly on the possibility of this government holding census in 2018 as has been indicated,” he said.