Senator Abdul Ahmed Ningi, Chairman of the Senate Committee on National Identity and National Population, has lamented the absence of accurate population data to plan Nigeria.
The Chairman also regretted that successive administrations have relied on inconsistent numbers, making it difficult to arrive at a strategic plan for the future.
Ningi made the disclosure while addressing a delegation from the National Population Commission (NPC) led by its Chairman, Nasir Isa Kwara.
“Public analysts say that Nigerians are over 200 million. Some would say 220. Just yesterday I heard that we are over 250 million.
“All those things are mere guesswork. And it is the population commission that is saddled with the constitutional responsibility to do that. And that has been actually emphasized by an Act of Parliament.
“If we want to belong to the comity of nations that make an impact in the world, we need to know what we are doing, we need to know our capacity. And without knowing who we are, and how many we are, we can’t continue to guess,” Ningi detailed.
Commenting, a member of the committee and the Senator representing Jigawa North-West, Babangida Hussain, said measures need to be put in place for the proper policing of the country’s 927,000 sq kilometer of land to check illegal immigrants.
“Today, our borders are as open as the sky. These are issues that are germane to population growth, to plan cities, to issues of education, security, and water,” he said.
On her part, Saidat Olayinka Oladunjiye, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s nominee as NPC Commissioner for Lagos State assured the committee of a rich guideline to guide the NPC towards a successful enumeration exercise.
She explained that the commission would deploy the Geographic Information System (GIS), adding that “the population census we are going to have this time is going to be one of the best in the country because like you said data is blood.”