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Reps urge suspension of census over insecurity, others

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House of Representatives has advised Federal Government to suspend ongoing move to conduct nationwide population and housing censuses.

Adopting a motion under matters of urgent national importance initiated by Mr. Shelia Barwa Bell at the plenary presided over by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, yesterday, the House argued that it was needless embarking on the exercise in view of the appalling security situation in the country.

The House, while mandating its relevant committee to probe into the work plans of the National Population Commission (NPC), with regard to the planned censuses, invited NPC chairman to explain the feasibility of concluding census in the face of insecurity.

Moving the motion, Bell explained that a sizeable number of the citizenry who are dwellers of the various communities to be captured in the exercise had been displaced due to the security situation in the country.

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The lawmaker claimed that some of the displaced persons who have crossed over to neighbouring countries for refuge would not be captured if the census is to be conducted as scheduled.

He contended that with the overwhelming security challenges at hand, expecting accuracy in any census conducted now would be like “passing an elephant through the eyes of a needle.”

He further argued that going ahead with the exercise in the period of current economic recession would only lead to wasting national resources, as the outcome would be inconsequential.

“It is worrisome that in the circumstance, a large chunk of Nigerians have fled their homes, while many others are being held captive by kidnapers. As such, conducting such census without them means infringing on their constitutional right.

“Further worry is that posting enumerators or adhoc staff to volatile areas of the nation in the name of conducting census is irrational, as it would be like giving them out to criminals,” the lawmaker said.

According to Bell, the past census concluded yielded controversial statistics for the nation as a result of partial coverage of the actual population of the country. ‘We must not allow this to perpetuate.”

The lawmaker, who noted that presidential election is envisaged to commence and end within the first quarter of 2023, said the whole of the preceding 2022 would be about campaigns, and there would be no room for census activities.

“The overlapping effect of active political activities and the national head count would be prone to manipulation by overambitious politicians.”

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