President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the sum of N10 billion towards smoothing the processes leading to the conduct of a successful population census in the country.
The Acting Chairman, National Population Commission (NPC), Dr Eyitayo Oyetunji, who disclosed this in Abuja at a press briefing on the commencement of the 10th phase of the Enumeration Area Demarcation (EAD) exercise, recalled that the commission has been implementing the exercise in phases due to paucity of funds.
Oyetunji said the 10th Phase of the exercise which will commence on October 5 and end on October 29, 2020, including training and fieldwork would be conducted in 33 local government areas spread across 25 states and the FCT.
He said: “As you may be aware that a total of 228 LGAs were successfully demarcated across the 36 States and FCT in the previous 9 phases.
“Hitherto, the Commission had been implementing the EAD in phases due to limitations in the availability and allocation of funds.
“I am however pleased to announce that His Excellency, Mr President has reaffirmed his commitment towards the successful completion of the EAD and indeed towards the conduct of the next census by approving the release of the total sum of 10 billion naira for the continuation of the EAD in the remaining 546 LGAs of the country.
“The President has graciously followed this up by a further approval of an additional N45 billion to be included in the 2021 budget for the completion of the exercise as part of preparations for the next census.
“No doubt, this milestone development, under-scores the President’s understanding of the role of data, especially demographic data as the bedrock for informed development planning and allocation of resources, facilities and services.
“The President has by this giant intervention demonstrated his desire to invest in the population, especially our teeming youthful population and to thereby lead the country to harness the demographic dividend.
“We in the National Population Commission perceive this highly commendable action of His Excellency, Mr President as further indication of his dogged resolve to take this country into a post-COVID-19 era that will emerge from systematic planning and optimal utilization of available resources especially the human capital with which the country is abundantly blessed.”
Oyetunji added: “There is no gainsaying that no nation can develop beyond the capacity of its population. For us at the Commission, we wish to reiterate our preparedness and unwavering commitment to work towards the successful conclusion of the EAD and the conduct of the next census and to thereby provide accurate, reliable and up-to-date demographic data for national planning and development.
“As I conclude, I wish to affirm and reassure you all that the present Membership, Management and Staff of the National Population Commission is bubbling with a common vision, zeal, commitment and expertise and with the sophisticated technology at our disposal, and the support which the President has extended to us.
“I am confident that the Commission will deliver a very successful EAD and also to conduct a census that will be accurate, reliable and acceptable.
“May I, therefore, appeal to every stakeholder and particularly you our friends in the media who are gathered here today, to join hands with the National Population Commission in realising the dream of providing the needed demographic data that will facilitate the upliftment of our dear nation to the next level.”