Senate asks Buhari to call national census in 2018

The Senate, on Tuesday, asked President Muhammadu Buhari to proclaim a national census for 2018.

The lawmakers, exactly 10 years after the conduct of the last national census exercise in Nigeria, called on President Buhari to issue proclamation for another head count in 2018.

They adopted a motion moved by Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi on the census and called on the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), the National Population Commission (NPC), Ministry of Budget and National Planning to make adequate provision in the 2017 budget as a prerequisite for a successful 2018 budget.

Senator Hunkuyi, in the motion, told the Senate that Section 24 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) empowered the NPC to undertake the production of demographic, socio-economic and health data through the conduct of census surveys, vital statistics and other related activities in Nigeria.

He said the commission should be mobilised by the Federal Government to carry out its constitutional mandate 10 years after the last national census.

He submitted that inadequate appropriation for the 2016 census led to the collapse of the planned exercise, adding that the National Assembly failed to make adequate provisions in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 budgets.

The senator said a presidential proclamation, which was a prerequisite for the 2018 census, was imperative at this stage to make the exercise a success.

While seconding the motion, Senator John Enoh told the chamber that the National Assembly and the government must take care of all issues that made previous headcounts contentious if the 2018 exercise was to be successful.

Senator Akpan Bassey also said  the exercise was important, as according to him, “if you fail to plan, you have planned to fail.”

Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the sitting, said  the next census exercise must take advantage of relevant technological devices to ensure accuracy.

He said: “We must ensure that every Nigerian should be counted and results released later should tally with census taken.”