by Stanley Azuakola
The chairman of the National Population Census (NPC), Dr Festus Odimegwu has confirmed what a lot of Nigerians have always believed – that the results of national census over the years in the country have been mostly forged and did not reflect the realities on ground.
In fact, these two pieces a few months ago from Feyi Fawehinmi and Godwin Ogedengbe show some startling facts and observations from census data.
Odimegwu told journalists in Abuja that no credible census has been conducted in Nigeria since 1816 because census figures were regularly distorted for selfish reasons.
“No census has been credible in Nigeria since 1816. Even the one conducted in 2006 is not credible. I have the records and evidence produced by scholars and professors of repute. This is not my report. If the current laws are not amended, the planned 2016 census will not succeed,” Odimegwu said.
He alleged that a former Lagos governor falsified census result some years ago, and also recalled a particular incident in 2006, when staff of the NPC protested because figures were being manipulated.
“During the 2006 census, workers locked out the commissioners over creation of new areas,” he said.
“Nigeria has run on falsehood for too long. We must stop this falsehood and put a stop to all of these. The Boko Haram problem is partly as a result of that. Because the 2006 census was not correct, the former board of NPC was unable to publish the figures.
“If they try it, there will be an uproar. We must make Nigeria work. We cannot do that unless we know the statistics. We cannot build infrastructure without demographic data. As long as the figures in Nigeria are wrong, corruption will continue to thrive. We must have an organised data before we can plan for Nigeria.
“It is either we do an accurate census or we will not do anything. We are committed to giving Nigerians a credible and reliable census. Nigerians are weeping up sentiments, but we have gone beyond ethnic sentiments. Nigerian children are suffering and many youths have no jobs,” Odimegwu said.