No credible census in Nigeria since 1816 - Population Commission

By The Citizen

The Chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC) Chief Festus Odimegwu, on Monday said the country had not had any credible census since 1816.

The NPC boss, who spoke to journalists in Abuja, blamed the irregularity on the distortion and falsification of figures for selfish and political reasons.

He said, 'No census has been credible in Nigeria since 1816. Even the one conducted in 2006 is not credible. I have the records and evidence produced by scholars and professors of repute. This is not my report. If the current laws are not amended, the planned 2016 census will not succeed.'

He recalled how some workers protested against the NPC commissioners during the 2006 census over alleged manipulation.

Odimegwu added, 'During the 2006 census, workers locked out the commissioners over creation of new areas. When NPC did its own census in 2006 and said Lagos State was nine million, Bola Tinubu, who was the governor then, came out then and declared that the population census of Lagos was 17 million.

'Nigeria has run on falsehood for too long. We must stop this falsehood. The Boko Haram problem is partly because of that. Because the 2006 census was not correct, the former board of NPC was unable to publish the figures.

'If they (board members) tried it, there would be uproar. We must make Nigeria work. We cannot do that unless we know the statistics. We cannot build infrastructure without demographic data.

'As long as the figures in Nigeria are wrong, corruption will continue to thrive. We must have an organised data before we can plan for Nigeria.'

He warned that Nigeria should either conduct a credible census exercise or forget about it.

He added, 'It is either we do an accurate census or we will not do anything. We are committed to giving Nigerians a credible and reliable census. Nigerians are whipping up sentiments.'