The National Population Council (Nigeria)
The 1979, 1989 and 1999 constitutions make provisions for the National Population Council. The basic objectives of the commission council are:
- To carry out periodical enumeration of the population of the country through sample surveys, censuses, etc;
- To establish and maintain a machinery for continuous and universal registration of births and deaths throughout the country;
- To advise the President on population matters;
- To publish and provide information arid data on population for the purpose of facilitating economic development and planning.
- To undertake or delegate the appointment and training of its enumerators.
The members of the council are the Chairman and a representative from each state of the federation and the FCT, Abuja. The council is one of the most important executive bodies in view of its role in providing accurate data on the size and composition of the population of Nigeria.
Without data, planning becomes a fruitless exercise, and without planning, socio-economic development is retarded. A country that fails to plan, plans to fail.
In the population census conducted from 21st to 27th March, 2006, the usual logistic problems of late delivery of census materials, disappearance of census materials and officials and late payment of allowances to enumerators resurfaced again.
It is not clear why these problems keep recurring especially for an exercise that has been in the plan for more than three years. The registration of births and deaths and a regular and systematic enumeration of people provides a good basis for an acceptable census but the system for such an exercise hardly exists.
It should be possible also for Nigerians to be able to count themselves without declaring public holidays as was done during the last census. It must have been a big loss to the national economy and private business to close down the economy for about one week.
The greatest challenge to the success of the council is the politicization of census in this country. The Council, must be commended for releasing results of the March 2006 census at the end of December 2006. The 2006 census has turned out to be the least controversial of all the census so far conducted since 1960.