Minna – Former Military President Ibrahim Babangida on Tuesday urged the National Population Commission (NPC) to adequately publicise the aims and objectives of census before embarking on the 2016 headcount.
Babangida made the call when some staff members of the NPC, led by Mr Aliyu Datti, visited him in Minna.
“Wrong perception of what census is all about which characterised past head counts conducted in the country had rendered the exercise controversial.
“This development should be discouraged.
We are all Nigerians. We should not go to war over census figures’’, he said.
Babangida said the inclusion of religion and tribe as part of the information required is one of the main causes of the controversies which usually come up at the end of every exercise.
“Those who are fanatical about religion or tribe will want the outcome to be in favour of their religion or tribe.
“We should try and remove all these things that tend to cause controversy’’, he added.
He said the 1991 census conducted by his administration failed to impress on the people that headcount was not about religion or tribe but about numbers needed for planning at all levels of government.
He commended the ongoing sensitisation by the NPC, adding that it would go a long way in strengthening census in the country.
“If we are able to make the next exercise look normal and devoid of all these issues, it will help get rid of the attendant controversies after the exercise’’, Babangida said.
He urged the commission to ensure adequate publicity and sensitisation of the next exercise.
Earlier, Datti told the former head of state that the commission was consulting with principal actors of previous census to ensure that the 2016 exercise was acceptable. (NAN)