President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the release of N10 Billion for the National Population Commission (NPopC), for the continuation of Enumeration Area Demarcation (EAD) across 546 Local Government Area of the country.
He also approved an additional N4.5 Billon to be included in the 2021 Budget for the completion of the exercise as part of the preparations for the next census.
The Acting Chairman of National Population Commission, Dr. Eyitayo Oyetunji disclosed this on Monday in Abuja while briefing reporters on the release of the funds and the update on the EAD at the NPopC headquarters.
According to him; “Hitherto, the Commission had been implementing the EAD in phases due to limitations in the availability and allocation of funds. I am however pleased to announce, that His Excellency, Mr. President has reaffirmed his commitment towards the successful completion of the EAD and indeed towards conduct of the next census by approving the release of the total sum of ten billion naira for the continuation of the EAD in the remaining 546 LGA of the country. The President has graciously followed this up by a further approval of an additional N45 billion to be included in the 2021 Budget for the completion of the exercise as part of preparations for the next census.
“No doubt, this milestone development, under-scores the President’s understanding of the role of data, especially demographic data as the bedrock for informed development planning and allocation of resources. facilities and services. The President has by this giant intervention demonstrated his desire to invest in the population, especially our teeming youthful population and to thereby lead the country to harness the demographic dividend. We in the National Population Commission, perceive this highly commendable action of His Excellency, Mr. President as further indication of his dogged resolve to take this country into a post COVID-19 era that will emerge from systematic planning and optimal utilization of available resources especially the human capital with which the country is abundantly blessed.
He continued ; “There is no gain saying that no nation can develop beyond the capacity of its population. For us at the Commission we wish to reiterate our preparedness and unwavering commitment to work towards the successful conclusion of the EAD and the conduct of the next census and to thereby provide accurate, reliable and up-to-date demographic data for national planning and development”.
Asked when the next census will commence, Oyetunji said: “I can tell you that we are very close to the conduct of the election. You will recall that President Muhammadu Buhari appointed the complete membership of the NPC including a substantive chairman.
“That in itself is an indication that government is working towards the exercise. And you will also agree that at a time like this there was high demand for scarce resources for government to commit a sum of N10 billion to the EAD is an indication that we are truly closer than when we began.
” like they say in the bible the exert time and date is what we have not yet indicated. With the speed we want to complete the EAD which is the major preparatory activity, for us at the NPC we are ready at any moment and prepared to conduct the census. We just need a nod to do so.”
He said NPC is briefing on the commencement of the next phase of the Enumeration Area Demarcation (EAD) exercise of the National Population Commission which is the 10th phase of the exercise so far undertaken.
The NPC boss said a total of 228 LGAs were successfully demarcated across the 36 States and FCT in the previous 9 phases.
He said the 10th Phase of the exercise will commence on 5th and end on October 29th 2020, including training and fieldwork.
Oyetunji also disclosed that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has entered into a special arrangement with the National Population Commission (NPC) under which the NPC is assisting INEC to create digitized maps of INEC Registration Areas (Wards) for the first time as part of the EAD.
He noted that, it is expected that the output of the collaborative effort will further enhance the accuracy and transparency of future elections.
He added that in the face of the growing insecurity besetting parts of the nation, information from the EAD is also invaluable for security surveillance as well as crime prevention and detection.