President Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has approved the postponement of the 2023 Population and Housing Census, earlier scheduled for May 3-7 2023, to a date to be determined by the incoming administration.
The President gave the approval after meeting with some members of the Federal Executive Council and the Chairman of the National Population Commission, Nasir Isa-Kwarra, and his team at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Friday, April 28, 2023.
This is contained in a press statement signed by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, and released Saturday morning.
“In arriving at the decision to postpone the census,” the statement says, “the meeting reiterated the critical need for the conduct of a Population and Housing Census, 17 years after the last census, to collect up-to-date data that will drive the developmental goals of the country and improve the living standard of the Nigerian people.”
Mohammed quoted Buhari as saying that appreciable progress had been made in the preparation for and implementation of the now postponed census, adding that the President commended the methodology being put in place by the NPC to conduct the accurate and reliable census.
“The President noted that with the completion of the Enumeration Area Demarcation of the country, the conduct of first and second pre-tests, the recruitment and training of ad hoc workers, procurement of Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) and ICT infrastructures, appreciable progress has been made in the implementation of the 2023 Population and Housing Census.
“He also commended the methodology being put in place by the Commission to conduct accurate and reliable Census, especially the massive deployment of technology that is capable of delivering world-class Census and laying a sustainable basis for future censuses.”
The statement added, “The President further directed the Commission to continue with preparations for the conduct of the 2023 Population and Housing Census in order to sustain the gains already recorded and provide the basis for the incoming administration to consolidate these achievements.”
“The meeting was attended by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami; the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed; the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; the Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Mr. Clem Agba and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha,” the statement concluded.
There have been calls from different quarters for the postponement of the census for reasons ranging from inadequate preparation, lack of funds, lack of training of supervisors for the exercise, credibility doubts raised by its timing, to security concerns, among other things.