The House of Representatives says it will investigate the N200 billion expended on the postponed 2023 census by the National Population Commission (NPC).
The resolution to investigate the NPC’s expenditure was sequel to a unanimous adoption of a motion co-sponsored by Rep. Dominic Okafor (APGA- Anambra) and Rep. Patrick Umoh (APC-Akwa Ibom) at plenary on Wednesday.
Okafor, who moved the motion, said, “census provides accurate population data crucial for development planning, policy formulation, resource allocation, and government programme implementation.”
He said that census was most necessary especially at a time when the Federal Government in conjunction with State Governments were working on giving palliatives to vulnerable citizens and also planning other social services.
The Rep member said that the NPC had the mandate to conduct periodic census surveys, and other methods to enumerate the country’s population and to provide data for national planning and economic development.
Okafor recalled that a national census was last conducted in Nigeria in 2006 and the 2023 census, but that the was to have held scheduled in May 2023, was postponed by the commission.
According to him, the data collected in the 2006 census is far from reality today and cannot validly form a solid base for the formation of national economic policies that will aid the federal government in administering viable national planning.
“The commission has admitted to having spent N200 billion of the N800 billion budgeted for the planning mid-execution of the 2023 population and housing census, which was postponed.
“The financial investment in 2023 population census planning would have improved economic planning and distribution of palliatives in the country.
“If the population and housing census fails to take place within 12 months, the information gathered across the country would become stale, a waste of resources and the country would have to increase costs of gathering fresh information,” he said.
He said that the Chairman of the commission, Alhaji Nasir Kwarra, had expressed readiness to conduct a population and housing census during a visit to President Bola Tinubu on July 6, 2023.
The green chambers urged President Bola Tinubu to declare a date for the conduction of 2023 population and housing census to facilitate accurate economic planning.
The house urged 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.
The lawmakers charged the NPC not to relent in its preparation for the 2023 population and housing census.
In his ruling, the Speaker of the house, Tajudeen Abbas, mandated the Committee on Population to investigate the money expended on the postponed 2023 population.
He asked the committee to liaise with the NPC to ensure a successful population and housing census when proclaimed.