On Friday, the National Population Commission clarified that the criticisms regarding the delay of the 2023 Population and Housing Census, which was commonly attributed to a lack of funds, were misunderstood. The Commission stated that, in contrast to such assumptions, the postponement of the census was done to prevent Nigeria from experiencing a national crisis. Mrs. Cecilia Dapoet, the Federal Commissioner in Plateau State, revealed this information during a meeting with stakeholders in Jos, the capital of the state.
The Commissioner said, “The Census exercise was earlier scheduled for May 3-7, 2023, but was postponed,
giving rise to many insinuations in the public space regarding the reason for the postponement and these even though are mere speculations had been given much media attention.
“The Commission is compelled to take necessary steps to correct the impression that the 2023 Population and Housing Census is postponed because of lack of funds.
“The real reason is not money, but government’s transition programme and post-election mood in the country. We all saw the cloud of uncertainty that hung above the nation after the elections and were careful not to fall into some pitfalls and plunge the country into more trouble. We cannot take things for granted, and decided to postpone the exercise,” she informed.
The Commissioner conveyed her positive outlook that the delay of the national census would provide the new administration, headed by President Bola Tinubu, with ample time to adequately prepare for the undertaking. Dapoet, while assuring that the NPC would conduct Nigeria’s first digital census once a new date is determined, further stated, “At present, we have acquired the handheld devices for data capture, which are securely stored at the Central Bank in Jos. This also implies that the software is readily available.”
“We need to reassure you that the coming Census will not be like the previous exercises which were marred by incidences of undercounting, multiple counting and inaccurate enumeration leading to Lack of trust in the census data and making it difficult to use for planning and development purposes.
“We have also put some measures in the process to curtail incidences of political interferences with the census process,” she said.