By Rotimi Ijikanmi
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the postponement of the 2023 National Population and Housing Census earlier scheduled for between May 3 and May 7.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said on Saturday in Abuja that the exercise was postponed to a date to be determined by the incoming administration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
In a statement he personally signed, the minister said the president approved the postponement of the exercise after meeting with some members of the Federal Executive Council and the Chairman of the National Population Commission and his team.
The minister, who doubles as the Chairman of the National Publicity and Advocacy Committee on the 2023 Census, said the meeting was held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Friday.
“In arriving at the decision to postpone the census, the meeting reiterated the critical need for the conduct of a Population and Housing Census, 17 years after the last census.
“This will help to collect up-to-date data that will drive the developmental goals of the country and improve the living standard of the Nigerian people,” the minister quoted the president as saying.
According to the minister, the president acknowledged that appreciable progress had been made in the implementation of the 2023 Population and Housing Census.
Specifically, he said the president acknowledged the completion of the Enumeration Area Demarcation of the country and conduct of the first and second pretests.
The president, according to the minister, also acknowledged the recruitment and training of adhoc workers as well as the procurement of Personal Digital Assistants and ICT infrastructure.
Mohammed said the president further commended the methodology being put in place by the commission to conduct an accurate and reliable census.
This, he said, included the massive deployment of technology capable of delivering world class census and laying a sustainable basis for future censuses.
The minister said the president also directed the commission to continue with preparations for the conduct of the census in order to sustain the gains already recorded and provide the basis for the incoming administration to consolidate on these achievements.
Mohammed said those present at the meeting included Mr Abubakar Malami, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice; Mrs Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning and himself.
Others were Mr Clem Agba, the Minister of State, Budget and National Planning and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha.