Thursday, 7th December 2023

MBF urges Tinubu to postpone census

By Saxone Akhaine, Kaduna
13 July 2023   |   3:52 am
 Middle Belt Forum (MBF) has appealed to President Bola Tinubu to postpone the country’s census until security situation improves.

Census 2023

Middle Belt Forum (MBF) has appealed to President Bola Tinubu to postpone the country’s census until security situation improves.

Expressing concern over insecurity in the country, MBF also highlighted the displacement of numerous Nigerians, particularly in the Middle Belt.

In a statement, yesterday, the National President, Dr. Pogu Bitrus, noted the recent visit of Alhaji Nasir Kwarra and National Population Commission (NPC) officials to the Presidential Villa, adding: “It was revealed that Tinubu would soon set new date for the 2023 national population and housing census, which was suspended by former President Muhammadu Buhari.

“MBF strongly opposes the NPC’s position, considering the prevailing insecurity in the country, specifically in the Middle Belt region.”

The forum’s leaders stated that the success and accuracy of the headcount could only be achieved if security is guaranteed.

They insisted: “To conduct a population and housing census when certain territories have fallen under the control of foreign terrorists and millions of Nigerians have been displaced by ruthless criminals is unthinkable.

“In Southern Borno, for example, Boko Haram has repeatedly assaulted communities, forcing residents to abandon their ancestral lands in search of safety. Tragically, many of these traumatised individuals have become refugees in their own country or neighbouring nations, unable to return home for the past 10 years.”

“States like Plateau, Niger, Benue and Kaduna have also witnessed devastating losses, with thousands of people driven out of their ancestral territories. Shockingly, foreign occupiers have even renamed these communities under the watch of security forces, demonstrating blatant illegality.”

According to MBF, in the midst of ongoing conflicts tearing the country apart, it is unreasonable for the NPC to urge Tinubu to set new dates for the suspended population and housing census. It urged the President to consider the prevailing security challenges and the plight of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) before proceeding with the census.

“The forum emphasises that conducting a census during troubled times will only bestow legitimacy upon the vicious perpetrators of genocidal attacks on defenceless communities. To ensure a transparent and accurate headcount, it is essential to prioritise the restoration of order and the provision of adequate security for life and property across the nation”, the statement added.