Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai has described the planned 2023 national census as “urgently needed” for the federal and subnational governments to tackle ongoing population and security challenges, as well as provide resources to vulnerable members of society.
The governor spoke on Monday at a stakeholders sensitisation summit held by the National Population Commission (NPC) in Kaduna State.
El-Rufai cited some of the reforms by his administration in physical infrastructure development cutting across various economic and social sectors to meet the needs of people in all 23 local government areas (LGAs).
“The reforms driven by the 2023 data will further improve the implementation of programmes targeting vulnerable populations and ensuring that we leave no one behind,” he said.
“This census is urgently needed to drive the implementation of the recently launched National Policy on Population for Sustainable Development and other government policies in the state.
“The 2023 census data is greatly needed to assist our resolve to tackle the security challenges bedevilling the country and to give an overview of the population as to where they are and who they are.”
The governor, on behalf of the Kaduna State Government, expressed confidence that the NPC had the commitment and capacity to deliver a “reliable, credible, acceptable and successful” census to Nigeria.
Of all the preparatory steps put in place, El-Rufai said, the journey towards the 2023 census is on course.
“Population data is critical to development planning and any government desirous of achieving development strides needs basic information such as how many people require basic amenities like electric power, water supply, schools, housing, health facilities, education and the like.
“No country relies solely on its estimated population because such estimates ignore the demographics unearthed by census data which are needed for national planning purposes,” he said.
Plans to hold the 2023 national census were first confirmed last April, following a Council of State meeting. Scheduled to be conducted between March and April 2023, the census will be the country’s first since 2006.
El-Rufai, earlier this month, raised the alarm over the threats posed by banditry and insurgency to next year’s population census and general elections.
Kaduna, located in the North-West zone, has recorded heightened attacks by bandits and terrorists in the past five years with several lives lost, thousands kidnapped and livelihoods disrupted.
El-Rufai spoke while receiving the state’s quarterly security report, which stated that a total of 446 people were killed and 1,789 others kidnapped by bandits across the state in the last six months.
Earlier this year, a former military governor of Kaduna State, Colonel Abubakar Umar, advised the Federal Government to suspend the national population census in the light of insecurity across the country.
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