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BREAKING NEWS : FG postpones 2023 National census

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has approved the postponement of the 2023 Population and Housing Census, which was initially scheduled to hold between May 3-7, to a later date that will be determined by the incoming administration. The announcement was made in a press statement signed by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on Saturday, April 29, 2023.

The decision was made after the President met with members of the Federal Executive Council and the Chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC), Nasir Isa-Kwarra, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Friday, April 28, 2023. The postponement was approved due to the critical need for the conduct of an up-to-date Population and Housing Census, 17 years after the last census, to collect data that will drive the developmental goals of the country and improve the standard of living of Nigerians.

President Buhari appreciated the methodology put in place by the NPC to conduct an accurate and reliable census. He commended the commission for making appreciable progress in the preparation and implementation of the 2023 Population and Housing Census, with the completion of the Enumeration Area Demarcation, first and second pre-tests, recruitment and training of ad hoc workers, procurement of Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), and ICT infrastructures. The President also directed the commission to continue with preparations for the census to sustain the gains already recorded and provide the basis for the incoming administration to consolidate these achievements.

The meeting was attended by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami; the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed; the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; the Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Mr Clem Agba, and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha.

There have been calls from various quarters for the postponement of the census due to reasons ranging from inadequate preparation, lack of funds, lack of training of supervisors for the exercise, credibility doubts raised by its timing, and security concerns, among other things. The decision to postpone the census has, however, been greeted with mixed reactions from different groups in the country.

Many Nigerians have expressed disappointment over the postponement of the census, citing the need for accurate and reliable data to drive developmental goals and improve the standard of living of the citizens. Some have also raised concerns over the implications of the postponement for planning and resource allocation, as well as the credibility of future census exercises.

On the other hand, some have welcomed the decision to postpone the census, citing concerns over inadequate preparations and security challenges in some parts of the country. They have called for more time to be given to the incoming administration to adequately prepare for the exercise and ensure that it is conducted in a credible and transparent manner.

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