The National Security Adviser (NSA) to the government of the federation Major General Babagana Monguno, CFR (Rtd.) has guaranteed that the upcoming Population and Housing Census will hold peacefully inspite of the Security challenges in the nation.
Monguno gave the assurance at the inauguration ceremony of the 2023 Population and Housing Census Security and Logistic Committee held at the Office of the National Security Adviser, (ONSA), Presidential Villa Abuja.
According to him, planning and conducting 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 includes 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.
He however reassured of the safe movement of personnel and materials before, during and after the exercise, noting efforts by the government 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,” he assured.
The NSA reemphasized the huge task before the National Security and Logistic Committee, noting that Nigeria is not only diverse in size, but also languages, residence, age and socio-economic orientation.
“Given the scope of the 2023 Population and Housing Census which will cover the entire country and involving the counting of every person resident in Nigeria and taking place simultaneously in every household in the country, safeguarding the personnel and materials as well as the smooth channelling of same, is imperative to the overall success of the Census exercise.
“With these at the back of our minds and the desire to succeed in this venture, this Committee must be conscious of several risks factors that may militate against the successful conduct of the 2023 Census,” he stressed.
“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 a credible and reliable census data plays in planning for sustainable development.
“This Committee is to among other duties and responsibilities support/intervene the security and logistic arrangements to safeguard Census personnel and materials as well mobilize logistic resources for the Census, devise appropriate strategies for storage, distribution and retrieval of Census equipment and materials where the need arises,” he said.
Earlier, the Executive Chairman of the Commission Hon Nasir Isa-Kwarra, similarly assured Nigerians that the Commission remains committed to the conduct of a credible and acceptable census that will be transformational and meet international standards.
He noted that the Security and Logistic Committee is very critical and important to the Commission’s quest to give Nigerians credible, reliable and acceptable census data for national planning.
“In the 2023 Census, everyone will be counted in the right way, at the right place and time, and for the benefits of all persons resident in Nigeria.