The House of Representatives on Wednesday urged the Federal Government to immediately suspend the proposed 2021 population and housing census planned to be conducted by the National Population Commission (NPC), due to the rising insecurity challenge in the country.
The lawmakers’ advice was sequel to the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance on the floor of the House by Hon. Shehu Beji (APC-Niger).
Hon Beji, while moving the motion, bemoaned the state of insecurity in the country which, he said, had led to the displacement of millions of Nigerians who are to be captured in the exercise from their places of abode.
The lawmaker lamented that some displaced persons had even crossed over to neighbouring countries for refuge and would, therefore, not be captured if the census is conducted.
According to him, with the rising state of insecurity across the six geo-political zones, it will be difficult to get accurate data on the citizens and housing units if any census is conducted, stressing that continuing with the planned census will be ‘like passing an elephant through the eye of a needle”.
“In the circumstance, a large number of Nigerians have fled their homes, while many others are being held captive by kidnappers. As such, conducting such a census without them means infringing on their constitutional right.
“Posting enumerators or ad hoc staff to volatile areas of the nation in the name of conducting census will be irrational, as it would be like giving them out to criminals”, the lawmaker cautioned.
He further clarified that conducting a population and housing census in the current economic recession would only waste the nation’s resources as the outcome will be inconsequential.
The lawmaker said that with the country’s presidential election envisaged to commence and end within the first quarter of 2023, the whole of 2022 would mostly be about campaigns, leaving no room for census activities.
Following a brief discussion of the motion, the lawmakers charged the Federal Government to suspend the upcoming census exercise until there is an improvement in the security of the country.
The House also mandated its relevant committee to inquire about the work plans of the NPC on the census and resolved that the chairman of the NPC should be invited to make clarifications on the feasibility or otherwise of conducting the census in the face of mounting insecurity challenge in the country.