Chairman of the Senate Committee on National Identity and National Population, Senator Abdul Ahmed Ningi, has reemphasized the importance of demographic data in national development, saying without data it is impossible to run a nation.
Senator Ningi stated this in Abuja while addressing the National Population Commission Annual Public Lecture Series ( APLS) organised by the commission with the theme: “A Decade of Dialogue on Nigeria’s Population and Development”.
According to Ningi, conducting a population census is for the purpose of data gathering not about knowing which ethnic group is bigger as many Nigerians believe .
“The population is not about which ethnic group is bigger; the entire government must come to the tableI. It is not news that we are living in difficult times and so sensitive to ethnic religious attention and regional centres but if we don’t plan for today we plan to fail.
He regretted that since the past 17years Nigeria is yet to conduct another population census, stressing that the population data is very important for national planning especially as it concerns making provisions for women, children and the aged.
“It is a negative impact to know that the last time we had a population census was in 2006 we are the largest country in Africa the biggest black nation and so we must have a stand at every given time; the entire world look at us as the African leader, the African countries look at us as to do the will but here we are over 17years no figure of what our population is .
“How many are we? How many are the population of the youth and women?,” he queried.
“Even in our individual household we maintain data of how many people we are in the house, in order to plan how you feed everyone and take care of education, healthcare needs etc.
“It is the same way Nigeria must have accurate data of population, know how many women, men, children, youths do we have to be able to prepare for tomorrow.
The committee Chairman lauded the planning by the population Commission towards conducting a digital population census, affirming that they have prepared so well that they are almost at an advanced stage of conducting a national census, while calling for full support of the upcoming exercise.
In his welcome address Executive Chairman of the NPC Hon. Nasir Isa Kwarra noted that the theme for the lecture series encapsulates a decade-long journey of constructive discourse, knowledge sharing, and collaborative efforts in understanding and addressing the nation’s demographic challenges.
Over the years, the Annual Population Lecture Series has served as an invaluable platform for us to delve into the intricate tapestry of demographic dynamics that shape our society. It has been instrumental in fostering informed dialogues, sparking innovative ideas, and catalyzing actions that contribute to the well-being and progress of our nation.
Our nation stands at a critical juncture, where the understanding of population trends and their implications on various facets of development is more pertinent than ever. Nigeria’s population growth, coupled with shifting demographic patterns, presents both opportunities and challenges that demand our focused attention, strategic planning, and collaborative action.
In his remarks, his Royal Majesty, the Andoma of Doma, Alh Dr Ahmadu Aliyu Oggah OON, said any policy initiatives are predicated on the population data stressing the need for another population census.
“Nigerians in the rural areas look forward to the population census. Unless we get census right those issues affecting grassroot people will never change ,” he said