ZARA NWACHINAEMERE writes that the National Population Commission, (NPC) Commissioner, in-charge of Ebonyi State, Hon. Darlington Okereke, Tuesday, said that insecurity, recession, funding among others, were reasons Nigeria has not conducted population census 15 years after the 2006 exercise.
Okereke, made the disclosure while briefing Journalists in Abakaliki, the state capital on the commission’s progress in the Enumeration Area Demarcation (EAD) exercise going on in the state.
He hinted though there is no enabling law that Nigeria’s population census would take place every ten years, adding that the federal government have been working seriously to address the bottlenecks.
He maintained that the Enumeration Area Demarcation ( EAD), exercise being carried in the local government areas of the country is not a delay tactics but a pre-requisite to the census.
“If we don’t finish the enumeration area demarcation in the 774 local governments that make up the country, census will not take place, so there is no delay tactics. We are taking it gradually to finish all the local governments. When we conclude all the EAs then we are ripe to have the census.
“There is no law that census must be conducted every ten years, that is why it has not firmly been taken, because if it is a law it must be binding on government, and every ten years census must be conducted just as in the case of the general elections.
“That is why NPC is pushing, there must be an enabling law that will make it compulsory that head counts will be taking every ten years. We are on the process of that. Why we are 15 years behind after the last census is that there are issues that could not permit census to take place. Issues of funding, timing, crisis ridden areas. Before now, some parts of this country about 14 local government areas were taken over by Boko Haram. It is after awhile that we started taking control of those areas. Also, there was recession, these are some of the challenges affecting the nation, but I think government is really taking census as a major project for the country that is why they have released money for the area demarcation to take place which was not the case before now”, he stated.
Okereke, also said that the commission has commenced the phase 13 Enumeration Area Demarcation ( EAD), in Ezza South and Ezza North local government areas of Ebonyi State.
He said the Enumeration Demarcation otherwise known as census mapping, which commenced this March in the areas, was aimed at dividing the larger place in a smaller units for census planning, budgeting, execution and dissemination of data with the population threshold between five hundred to five hundred and fifty persons.
The NPC boss said the exercise will enhance successful enumeration by two enumerators within three days during the National census.
The commissioner said the exercise was among various programmes put in place to ensure accuracy, reliability and acceptability of the National census project.
He said the demarcation had been designed to run in phases, having recently finished Onicha in phase twelve and currently in Ezza South and North for the phase thirteen exercise which would cover the entire twenty two INEC registration wards in the two local governments.
He said the population commission has mapped out enlightenment, sensitization and advocacy programmes across the twenty two wards in the two local government areas, adding that some of the programmes have been concluded while some are ongoing
He noted that the exercise was meant to cover all the thirteen local government areas of the state but they have already captured eight, two ongoing, remaining three.