The National Population Commission has revealed that there will be no public holiday during the forthcoming census, scheduled to hold between May 3 and 7, 2023.
The commission stressed that everyone living in the country, including foreigners, will undergo the process as it enjoined people to make themselves available.
Recall that the country had it last population census in 2006, with the commission insisting that this year’s exercise would be done digitally.
Speaking in an interview the spokesperson for the NPC, Isiaka Yahaya, stated, “There won’t be a public holiday, because during public holidays people can move from one place to another, but there may be restriction on movement, based on past experiences. However, I can’t confirm that now. The government will come out with a categorical statement on that.”
“Foreigners will be counted as long as they are in Nigeria. Everybody on the land space of Nigeria will be counted. If you look at the definition of Census, it is the enumeration of all persons. It did not say only citizens. So, everyone resident in the country during the census period will be counted.
“There will be a section that will ask if you are a foreigner or not and the country they are from. It is part of the data to be collected, so it is not separate.”
Asked to clarify whether anyone who refuses to present themselves for the exercise would be sanctioned, he said, “It is a rumour that people who refuse to be counted will be sanctioned. All I know is that we have encouraged all Nigerians to make themselves available for counting because the exercise is in national interest. There are actually offences that we do not want to emphasise, but we do not have the power and capacity to lock anyone up.”
Meanwhile, the NPC Director in Plateau State, Pam Dame, has given an assurance that the exercise will be credible and reliable.
Speaking when he visited the Plateau Chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists in Jos on Friday, Dame who reiterated the importance of the exercise to planning and national development said the commission would deploy technology to ensure that the exercise was done with minimal hitches.
While calling on Nigerians to cooperate with the personnel that would conduct the exercise, he noted, “The forthcoming census will be a bit unique because we have made arrangements for improvement over the previous ones. We will deploy technology so as to curtail chances of manipulation and make it credible, reliable and acceptable to Nigerians.
“It will be very difficult for anyone to manipulate this census because we will deploy what is needed to make it credible and acceptable.”
The state chairman of NUJ, Mr Paul Jatau, tasked the commission to conduct proper training for its officials to avert challenges experienced during the general elections.