Fifteen years after the last census, Nigeria is likely to have another headcount next year.
President Muhammadu Buhari has given the National Population Commission (NPC) the nod to conduct another census in May, it was learnt at the weekend.
It was also gathered that N20 billion has been projected for the plan.
It is expected to be included in the 2022 budget.
It was gathered that the President might consult the Council of State as statutorily required under the Third Schedule, Part 1 (5) of the 199 Constitution.
The council is made up of the President, the Vice President, former presidents, all former heads of the government of the federation, all former Chief Justices of Nigeria, the President of the Senate , the Speaker of the House of Representatives, all the governors and the Attorney-General of the Federation.
A top source in the Presidency, who spoke in confidence, said Buhari is prepared to break the census jinx.
He said: “This will be another breakthrough for the Buhari administration. The NPC has secured the approval of the President to conduct a census by May 2022.
“The President has said the nation can no longer adequately plan without a correct census.
“I think the President will make a proclamation very soon after necessary consultation and advisory from the Council of State.”
The source added: “About N200billion has been proposed.”
The Third Schedule, Part 1 (5) of the 199 Constitution says in part: “The Council of State shall have power to advise the President in the exercise of his powers with respect to the (i) National Population Census and compilation; publication and keeping of records and other information concerning the same…”
Section 213 (1) of the 1999 Constitution says: “Any report of the National Population Commission containing the population census after every census shall be delivered to the President by the Chairman of the Commission
“The President shall within a period of thirty days after receipt of the report lay copies of the report before the Council of State, which shall consider the report and advise the President whether to accept it or reject it.
“Where the Council of State advises the President to accept the report, the President shall accept the same and shall then lay the report on the table of each House of the National Assembly.
“Where the President accepts such report and has laid it on the table of each House of the National Assembly he shall publish it in the Official Gazette of the Government of the Federation for public information.
“Where the Council of State advises the President to reject the report upon the ground – (a) that the population census contained in the report is inaccurate; or
(b) that the report is perverse, the President shall reject the report accordingly and no reliance shall be placed upon any such report by any authority or person or for any purpose whatsoever.”
No official of NPC was willing to speak on the approval by the President.
Nigeria has been using estimated population figures since the last census lapsed in 2016. By international standard the life span of every census is 10 years.
Most of the figures being used for payments are those by multilateral agencies which put Nigeria population between 180 million and 220 million.
This has made it difficult to plan. Besides, the demographic spread being used is obsolete.
Before 2006, Nigeria had its last census in 1991 that put its population at 89 million. The United Nations Population Division however put it at 93 million.
The figures were considered much smaller than many had expected, though subsequent analysis blamed it on what was considered as the inflated 1963 figures.
In 2006, there was also a difference in the figures given by the NPC and the UN Population Division. The UN Division estimated the population to be 134.4 million as against NPC’s 140 million.
According to the World Bank, the breakdown of the population growth rate of Nigeria since 2017 is as follows: 190,873.24 (2.64); 195,874,683(2.62%) for 2018; 200,963,599(2.6%) for 2019; 206,139,589(2.58%) as at 2020; and 211,400,708(2.55%) for 2021.