By Peter Duru, Makurdi
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for postponing the National Population and Housing Census scheduled for May 2023.
It was gathered that President Buhari approved the postponement of the exercise after meeting with some members of the Federal Executive Council and the Chairman of the National Population Commission, NPC, as well as his team at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Friday.
Reacting to the development, Governor Ortom in a statement by his Special Adviser Media and Publicity, Terver Akase commended the President “for listening to the voice of reason and directing that the 2023 National Population Census be postponed.”
The statement recalled that Governor Ortom had on April 13, 2023, called on the Federal Government to postpone the planned census until adequate security was guaranteed in the country.
The Governor specifically stated that conducting the census would amount to injustice and deprivation of millions of Nigerians who had been displaced from their ancestral homes and were living in Internally Displaced Persons, IDP, camps in Benue State and other parts of the country.
The Governor at the time said, “I want to say that the Federal Government should suspend the issue of census because it looks like the proposed census is coming with an agenda.
“Because I understand from the National Population Commission that those to be counted must be counted in their localities.”
The statement noted that “with the postponement of the census now approved by President Buhari, the Governor urges the Federal Government to ensure that Nigerians whose communities have been taken over by bandits and armed herders regain their lands and return home.
“He said the lives and well being of the people must be placed above other factors for the nation to realize its aspiration for greater growth and development.
“Governor Ortom remains committed to the rule of law, justice, fairness and equity.”