The Senate on Tuesday called on the Federal Government to set machinery in motion to conduct housing and population census in 2018.
Emanating from a motion by Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi at plenary on Tuesday in Abuja, the Senate also urged the government to make adequate provision of fund for the exercise.
Moving the motion entitled: “A call for The Federal Government to Expedite Action on the Planned 2018 National Census,” Hunkuyi reminded the government of constitutional provisions for the conduct of census.
He recalled that the last census was conducted in 2006 during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and that by the 10-year provision for the exercise to be conducted, it out to be this year.
He said that delay in the issuance of a proclamation by President Muhammadu Buhari and poor release of funds to the National Population Commission were major setbacks to the conduct of the exercise.
Hunkuyi said that in accordance with best international practices, a well planned and executed population census should take a minimum of two years.
He said: “It is only pertinent that subsequent population census should be carried out within an adequate timing and an objective of conducting an acceptable exercise.
“Secretary to Government of the Federation, NPoPC, Ministry of Budget and National Planning and other supervising agencies must make adequate provision in 2017 budget as critical prerequisite to achieving 2017/2018 population census.”
Senator John Enoh, in his contribution, reiterated the need for relevant government agencies to include the total cost of conducting the census in the 2017 budget.
Enoh stressed that the Federal Government should adhere to the United Nations provision that censuses should be conducted every 10 years.
Senator Emmanuel Bwacha said that there was the need to keep records of births, deaths and the entire population of the country.
Bwacha said: “If they tell us the number of people that have been killed in the North-East, some of us will faint.
“It is important for us to support this motion and ensure that funds are released for the conduct of the national population census and call on President Buhari to make a proclamation.”
Senator Ajayi Boroffice observed that there was no reason why money should not be made available to the population commission to conduct census.
Boroffice said: “The huge sum of money we will use in getting data from abroad is expensive.
“Let us channel that money into NPoPC so that they can conduct the census.”
Other lawmakers who contributed supported the motion.
The Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, warned the NPC not to conduct a national census that would become an issue for deliberation.
Ekweremadu said that every Nigerian must be counted and that information technology should be deployed in order to produce acceptable results.
Ekweremadu said: “I want to thank the sponsor of the motion.
“As we approach the next census, we must take advantage of the development in technology and make the results of the exercise acceptable.
“All the previous exercises have been disputed. We want this exercise to count; every Nigerian must be counted and no one should be counted twice.
“If we do this, we will be able to plan.”