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How NPC will check fraud in 2017 head count, by chairman

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Eze DuruiheomaTO make the 2017 population and housing census fraud-free and more innovative, the National Population Commission (NPC) is perfecting a plan to use biometric approach in which the facial impression and fingerprints of respondents will be captured.

Essentially, “Electronic Data Capture (EDC) devices will be used and data collected will be streamed real time to a central server.” It was learnt that the technology will also ensure enumeration of persons within a reasonable period of time.

Chairman of NPC, Mr. Eze Duruiheoma (SAN), who spoke at the opening of a three-day workshop in Kaduna on questions, instruments and tabulation for the
2017 population and housing census, assured Nigerians that
“preparation for the exercise is on course and appears brighter than ever.”

Giving reasons the earlier decision to conduct the head count next year was not feasible and expressing optimism about success of the 2017 exercise,

Duruiheoma said: “This is rooted in the fact that the present commission has taken time to identify and deliberate on issues with past censuses and have resolved to avoid those pitfalls through adoption of scientific planning and modern technology.”

According to him, “one of the banes of past exercises was allegation and counter-allegation of double, multiple or even ghost enumeration of persons. This made census takings in Nigeria controversial and contentious.”
To address these challenges, he said “the commission will conduct a biometric-based census that will eliminate enumeration of ghost respondents, make the census outcome auditable and verifiable, greatly improve the accuracy of the result and enhance acceptability of the outcome of the exercise locally and internationally.”

The objectives of the workshop organized by the commission yesterday include to identify data gaps in any specific section and propose additional questionnaire items for consideration and also add value to the quality of data collected.

The NPC boss said: “It is my hope that participants at this workshop
will comprehensively deliberate on the various items proposed to be included in the census questionnaires and bring to bear their precious and vast experience in determining whether these items should be included and how they are to be presented in order to elicit positive responses from the people”.

Though he did not state categorically if religious variables will be considered, Duruiheoma said: “ I urge participants to contribute freely and put forward their frank positions as the commission does not lay any claim to a monopoly of wisdom. “We are receptive of fresh ideas and innovations on how to give census-taking in Nigeria a new and positive beginning.”

Kaduna Governor State Governor Nasir El-Rufai said, in an address, that demographic profile in any country is the foundation upon which development stands, pointing out that “the people are both the agents and beneficiaries of development.”

Saying that “population size, composition, distribution and its socio-economic characteristics have decisive impact on the pace and outcomes of development efforts”, El-Rufai argued that “depending on how well it is managed, population can either be an asset or liability to development.”



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