Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi has pleaded with the National Population Commission (NPC) to provide accurate demographic and other data hat can help the state to get support it needs for development in the 2023 national census.
According to him, accurate demographic data arising from the 2023 national census can be used to create funds to bear the pressure of using the state as a transit route.
During the national stakeholders summit on 2023 Population and Housing Census organised by NPC in Lokoja, Bello observed that the state is strategic, sharing boundaries with 10 states, including the Federal Capital Territory.
Represented by his deputy, Chief Edward Onoja, he said that of recent Kogi had witnessed massive influx of new people in search of a place to live or do business in the state.
He claimed that people chose the state to live because it had the capacity to guarantee security of lives and property with a fast-growing commercial environment.
“The Wall Street Journal which expanded on the UN findings, says the population of Lokoja metropolis will grow 78 per cent in the next decade, quicker than every other sizable town in the world.
“In Kogi today, we are catering for no fewer than six million citizens and we have to provide for more than million citizens per month, who transit through our state on their way to and fro other parts of the country.
“This has put an inordinate amount of stress on our facilities, making both maintenance and replacement excessively frequent and prohibitively expensive.
“It is our strong expectation that the next census will not only represent this phenomenon accurately, but will go a long way in granting us the special status we need to keep Kogi safe,” he pleaded.
He noted that another national census in 2023 was imperative to produce a new set of demographic and socio-economic data that would provide the basis for national planning and sustainable development.
According to him, governments at all levels rely on population data to activate and sustain development, especially the provision of basic amenities such as electricity, water, schools, housing, health and educational facilities, among others.
Mr Nasir Isa-Kwarra, the Chairman, NPC then assured Nigerians and development partners the commission’s commitment to the conduct a credible and acceptable census that would be transformational and meet international standards.
Represented by Kogi NPC Federal Commissioner Prof. Isa Jimoh, the chairman said “the 2023 census will be fully digital and the commission has deployed technology to conduct the exercise and enhance data quality.
“In the 2023 census, everyone will be counted in the right way, at the right place and time, and for the benefits of all persons resident in Nigeria.
“This is what informed this summit with the hope of getting the support of all stakeholders here to join hands with NPC in realising the dream of providing the needed demographic data that will facilitate and place our country on the pedestal of sustainable development.