Muhammed Abubakar, Reporting
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has approved the postponement of the much-touted 2023 Census exercise which has already gulped about N186 billion from a heavily indebted country.
The postponement was announced late Friday in a statement signed and issued by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the postponement of the 2023 Population and Housing Census, earlier scheduled for 3-7 May 2023, to a date to be determined by the incoming Administration,” the statement read in part.
He went further to say: “The President gave the approval after meeting with some members of the Federal Executive Council and the Chairman of the National Population Commission and his team at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Friday (28 April 2023).
“In arriving at the decision to postpone the Census, 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.
“The President noted that with the completion of the Enumeration Area Demarcation of the country, conduct of first and second pretests, the recruitment and training of adhoc 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 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.”
Meanwhile, Stonix News gathered that sophisticated equipment such as Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) for each Enumerator across the country and stationeries, census pads etc were already being pilfered at NPC offices across the country.
Stonix News reliably gathered that no fewer than 10 of the PDA which costs at least N200,000 per one, are already missing in Lagos office.
It is even in doubt if the Enumerators have been selected for the botched exercise let alone trained due indiscretion and delays.
It was further gathered that an online training had, however, begun for Facilitators on April 25 which was supposed to end April 27, but deferred till Friday April 29.
The physical training had earlier been cancelled eight times before it was later converted to a virtual training for which no data was provided for the participating facilitators.