Chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC), Festus Odimegwu has incurred the fury of the House of Representatives Committee on Population after he failed to honour a recent summon to appear before the committee.
The 17-member panel had purportedly summoned the NPC boss in the wake of his “numerous unguided utterances on such sensitive issue as the 2006 and 2016 censuses” and other related population matters in the media.
Odimegwu’s latest confrontation with the lawmakers is one in a series of others that has trailed his outburst in a recent interview where he questioned the credibility of the 2006 census and went ahead to suggest that some of the figures were “embarrassing” to the commission as it was lopsided in favour of a particular section of the country.
The contents of the said interview reportedly earned the NPC Chairman a query from the Federal Government just as the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State on separate occasions questioned the NPC’s ability under its present leadership to conduct a credible and acceptable census in 2016 and therefore called for the sack of Odimegwu.
Altough the committee has not revealed its next line of action to Odimegwu’s refusal to attend the meeting scheduled for Thursday, September 19th, 2013, it was reliably gathered that this development has only heightened antagonism against the NPC chairman’s credibility in conducting the 2016 census.
It was also learnt that the Committee Chairman, Abdullahi Garba might be forced to invoke Section 88 (1d) which empowers the House of Representatives or its committees to compel any person in the country to appear before it.
Meanwhile, Deputy Director at the Press unit in NPC, Simeon Atine yesterday explained that the letter from the committee did not indicate that it was compulsory for Odimegwu to appear in person as it requested for the management team of the commission.