February 7, 2023

Insecurity may challenge 2023 census — NSA


… vows to assist exercise without blemish

By Fortune Eromosele, ABUJA

The National Security Adviser, NSA, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd.), has said that insecurity may pose a challenge to the conduct of the 2023 population and housing census.

This was as he vowed that the 2023 census exercise would be without blemish and that he would ensure there is adequate security for personnel of the National Population Commission and materials for the census.

Monguno spoke at the occasion of the inauguration of the 2023 population and housing census national census security and logistic committee, held at the Office of the NSA, Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Part of the newly inaugurated National Census Security and Logistic Committee was the Service Chiefs drawn from the security architecture of the country.

Monguno said the task before the National Security and Logistic Committee is huge and that the Committee must be conscious of several risk factors that may militate against the successful conduct of the 2023 Census.

According to him, “The planning and conduct of a gigantic programme such as the census will no doubt come with its challenges in terms of security and logistics arrangement.

“Potential areas of threats to the census include physical attacks on NPC staff and facilities, attacks on security personnel on census duty, inter/intra-communal violence disrupting preparatory and main census work, attacks targeting NPC databases and ICT architecture, intimidation of members of the public to dissuade them from participating in the process, snatching and destruction of census materials, among others.

“Most prominent is the issue of insecurity arising from banditry, kidnapping, armed conflicts, terrorism, insurgency and other violent crimes which poses a major challenge to the census exercise.

“However, the government has put in serious efforts to make the country safe for everyone. It is expected that with coordinated synergy by this Committee, the safe movement of personnel and materials before, during and after the census will be guaranteed because we have the confidence that with the calibre of members of this Committee, this national assignment will be carried out successfully.

“In consideration of your wealth of experience and commitment to nation-building, you have been carefully selected to add value as Members of the 2023 Population and Housing Census National Security and Logistic Committee to among other duties and responsibilities support/intervene in the security and logistic arrangements to safeguard Census personnel and materials as well as mobilize logistic resources for the Census, devise appropriate strategies for storage, distribution and retrieval of Census equipment and materials where the need arises.

“The need to provide the nation with accurate and reliable demographic data for policy formulation and planning for sustainable development cannot be overemphasised. It is in light of this and the desire to bequeath an enduring legacy of evidence-based planning for sustainable development that the conduct of the 2023 Population and Housing Census is of topmost priority to the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR.

“The setting up of this Committee and its inauguration at this point in time is, therefore, a necessary first step towards ensuring the peaceful and smooth conduct of the Census. This is arising from the pivotal role credible and reliable census data plays in planning for sustainable development.”

Speaking in the same vein, the Chairman of the National Population Commission, Nasir Isa-Kwarra, said that the importance of the Security and Logistics Committee cannot be overemphasized due to some areas disturbed by criminal and terrorist activities.

He said, “Census has been described as next to war and the biggest peacetime activity in terms of mobilization of men and resources and to us in the Commission, the importance of the inauguration of the Security and Logistics Committee cannot be overemphasized to the operation and success of the 2023 population and housing census.

“The Commission attaches great importance to the work of the Security and Logistic Committee whose work we believe is very critical and important to the Commission in our quest to give Nigerians credible, reliable and acceptable census data for national planning.”