Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

Ene Oshaba

Executive Chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC) Hon. Nasir Isa-Kwara,  has sought the partnership of the media in ensuring awareness creation that would enable them provide a reliable data  for planning and development purpose of the country. 

Isa-Kwara, made the appeal Thursday in Abuja during the  media luncheon for editors, bureau chiefs and population correspondents on the 2023 census with the  slogan “You count,  Be counted”.

He noted that the Commission as a data- generating agency of government and with assistance from development partners is committed to both technical and financial backstop in carrying out its functions, describing the media as “the next most important allies without which a credible census cannot be achieved”.

“In our considered opinion, you are, our friends in the media, without whose reportage of every stage of our activities, our efforts will come to naught.

“It is through you that people get to be aware and appreciate what projects we are embarking upon and the need to cooperate, more especially, as most of what we do are field-based, especially the upcoming 2023 Population and Housing Census,” he said.

He maintained that the  Commission has over the years  invested considerable time and resources in planning for the 2023 Population and Housing Census by drawing from its rich institutional experience spanning two censuses and a pool of tested professionals, saying this will give the nation a truly digital and scientific census that will generate data for national planning within the context of present realities.

He added that the Commission has successfully demarcated 773 LGAs in all the States of the Federation and the FCT, except for Abadam local government in Borno state due to security challenges, while assuring that it will soon achieve 100% demarcation of the local governments.

“I am pleased to inform you all that the outcome of the preparatory activities for the 2023 Population and Housing census has been reassuring. 

“The demarcation of the remaining one LGA of Abadam (Borno State) which has not been demarcated as a result of security challenges will soon start. The Commission has also conducted the first and the second census pre-test exercises as well as the Trial Census to test the census instruments and the Commission’s readiness in preparation for the 2023 Census,” he explained.

According to him, a  Post Enumeration Survey (PES) in selected Enumeration Areas in six States across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria is currently ongoing, saying this will help in determining coverage and content errors of the just concluded Trial Census.

He disclosed further that  vital registration activity of the Commission has remarkably improved from about 30% coverage early last year to close to 70% at present. 

“The Commission is on course in its mission of delivering the most credible and acceptable census in Nigeria’s history and a strategic partnership with our friends from the media will form the platform upon which the census architecture will stand to reach out to the Nigerian people.

“We intend to ensure full automation of the Electronic Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (E-CVRS) to all the States of the Federation. It is against this backdrop that I urge our friends in the media to assist us intensify the campaign on the use of data for evidence – based planning in the country,” he said.

Responding, Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) FCT Chapter, Emmanuel Ogbeche,  lauded efforts of the Commission in ensuring a credible census, he however urged for more  capacity building for journalists to bring this aim to fruition. 

“I remember the capacity building you had for Journalists in May this year which was very instructive but that shouldn’t end there. Trainings cannot be one off, giving the sensitive nature of the upcoming census,” he stressed.

Similarly, the Editor of Nations Newspapers Yusuf Ali, charged the Commission on accurate and reliable data , expressing concerns on the multiple data on  Population currently available, while stressing the importance of accurate facts and figures that will enable National planning.

“We want statistics, we want mutual working relationship and census has been the most delicate part of our national life , rhe commission should consider our diversity,  equity and inclusion 2hike generating data.

“We need facts and figures in the upcoming census and the fact it will come after the general elections is a good thing because tempers would have calm down,” he said.

In his welcome address the Federal Commissioner representing Oyo state and Director in Charge of Public Affairs Dr. Eyitayo Oyetunji,  expressed appreciation on the partnership with the media so far, he however charged the media on publicizing  the right content of the fully digitalized census and why the Commission is bent on conducting census next year.

While noting the objectives of the luncheon, the Director of Public Affairs Department (PAD) Dr. Isiaka Yahaya, said the aim was to deepen the relationship with media as stakeholders of the census process. 

“This media luncheon is to fill the gap, and to extend gratitude and ask for more and better reportage . We are aimed at conducting an accurate and digital census come 2023 and we can’t achieve this without the media,” he said.

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