By Davies Iheamnachor, PORT HARCOURT
The Nigeria National Population Commission, NPC, has reassured the citizens of a transparent and credible headcount in this year’s census, promising that it will not allow the inflation of figures by communities.
The National Commissioner representing Rivers State in NPC, who also is the Chairman of the 2023 Census Standing Committee, Dr Ipalibo Harry, spoke in Port Harcourt during the inauguration of the Publicity Committee for the census and the commencement of a three-day workshop for members of the commission on census operations and processes in preparation for the 2023 population and housing census.
Speaking, Ipalibo said the 2023 census would be different from the previous ones that were reportedly marred by falsification of figures, stressing that the processes would be digital and not manual in order to tackle irregularities in the process.
He stated that the technology would make it difficult for anyone to manipulate the exercise, insisting that the entire process and the census questionnaires have been mapped out to direct the enumerators on how to conduct the census.
Ipalibo said: “We assure Nigerians that the census of 2023, will be real, it will not be imaginary. The figures we got in 2006 were not real figures. This time around, figures that will emerge from the exercise is going to be real figures, because we need the real data to do real planning.
“This census is going to be different from past censuses. Its going to be digital. In previous ones, we see cases were communities come together, agree on what they want, get people around and get them to thumbprint, and add their numbers, but this one will be different, the total count can not be influenced.
“We have mapped out the whole country to know the total number of EAs that are in every ward and every community. And that is the reason it will be difficult for anyone to falsify, or tamper with the figures.
“The are so many peculiarities in this year’s census. It will no longer be exactly as it used to be because, all EAs (from the states, LGAs and Ward levels) are in the device and will be adequately followed up because, they are receptor for the population. And that strongly restricts manipulation and that is part of the reason for our continuous training at different levels.”
He further said: “The peculiarities of this year’s census is that you don’t need to be in your state to be counted, if you are from Rivers State, you can be counted in FCT where you reside. You don’t need to be in your house to be counted because the questionnaire is designed in such a way that you will be thrown directly to your state after the processes,” he said.
However, the Director, Public Affairs, NPC, Dr. Isiaka Yahaya, said the Commission is partnering key stakeholders in order to achieve a successful enumeration exercise.
He congratulated the newly inaugurated Rivers State Census Publicity Committee headed by the State Commissioner for Information and Community, Chief Chris Finebone and chaired by the King of Eberi Omuma Kingdom, His Majesty, Barr. Onyekachi Amaonwu, with the Rivers State Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Stanley Job Stanley, Chief Ernest Chinwo and others as members, reminding them that their appointment was for a service to the nation.
Responding for the State Chapter of the Census Publicity Committee, Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Chief Chris Finebone, commended the Commission for finding them worthy of the responsibility and assured them of their commitment and support to ensuring a successful census.
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