The National Assembly lower chamber, House of Representatives on Wednesday has determined to probe Nigerian Population Commission (NPC) over the approved fund for 2023 Population Census’ of which the commission has spent ₦200 billion from the N800 billion approved by the federal government for the conduct of the Population and Housing Census which has not been conducted.
The resolve to probe the commission came from the adoption of a motion titled, “Need to Investigate the Expenditure on the Postponed 2023 Population and Housing Census by the National Population Commission and Conduct of the National Population/Housing Census”. The motion was moved by Dominic Okafor, member representing Aguta Federal Constituency, Anambra State.
Leading the argument, Okafor noted, the money invested in the postponed 2023 budget would have meaningfully changed the lives of many Nigerians and improved distribution of palliatives across the country noting that despite the postponement of the exercise, NPC has admitted to spending ₦200 billion as part of the N800 billion budgeted for the planning and execution of the 2023 population and housing census.
Okafor said, “The NPC has a duty to conduct periodic census, surveys, and other methods to enumerate the country’s population, providing data for national planning and economic development. “Last census was held in Nigeria in 2006, however the proposed 2023 budget was postponed by the agency tasked with the responsibility of enumerating Nigerians for the purpose of national development” he added.
Declaring support for the motion, a member Usman Jaha, representing Damboa/Gwoza/Chibok Federal Constituency rejected the first prayer in the motion for the Federal Government to hold census this 2023 due to lack of insecurity in most of the states in Nigeria which according to him has rendered people homeless, and houses burnt down and how cannot be rebuilt because of insecurity.
Jaha further lamented with bitterness that the leadership of the country and the legislative has failed Nigerians in securing their lives and properties as enshrined in the constitution.
“The population census cannot hold in the country considering the security situation in the North-East, North-West, North-Central and other parts of the country. We have only one month to enter 2024 and you are talking about conducting census, is not visible or attainable. The leadership of the country and the legislative has failed Nigerians in securing their lives and Properties as enshrined in the constitution. We want the prayer one, two and three dropped as they are not visible this year” he bemoans.
The House after delibrations, step down prayer one, which urges President Bola Tinubu, to declare date for the Population and Housing Census exercise and conduct the 2023 population and housing census to facilitate accurate economic planning; prayer two also urge the Federal Government to upon fixing a date for the census, constitute Census Tribunals in designated centres in accordance with Section 28 of the National Population Commission, Act, 2004; and prayer three further urge the National Population Commission not to relent in its preparation for the 2023
Population and Housing Census.
The House therefore passed prayer four which mandate the Committee on Population to investigate the N200bn expended on the postponed 2023 population and housing census by the National Population Commission and liaise with the National Population Commission to ensure a successful population and housing census when proclaimed.
Abbas Tajudeen, the Speaker of the House of Representatives after the adoption, referred the motion to the Committee on Population for appropriate advice.