Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the harmonization of demographic data is very important for national development planning, especially for some of the Social Investment plans of the President Buhari led administration.
The Vice President made the remark at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, when he hosted a delegation from the National Population Commission.
“We must be able to honestly determine how many we are as a people, having a reliable harmonized data base will help social-economic planning including the Homegrown School Feeding Programme and the Conditional Cash Transfer, two of the several social investment plans of the Buhari Administration,” the Vice President said.
Professor Osinbajo tasked the Commission on conducting a reliable, cost-effective and acceptable census, bearing in mind the irregularities that have trailed some of the previous census exercises.
“Technology has now made it possible to harmonize data with that we can actually bring down the cost of data-gathering,” he noted.
The Chairman of the National Population Commission,Mr Eze Duru-Iheoma while speaking to Correspondents said the 2017 population census would be a distinctive one.
Mr Duru-Iheoma said the budget already in place for the smooth conduct of the census will be scrutinized, as directed by the Vice President.
The Chairman said the forthcoming census would be unique and Nigerians should cooperate with the Commission when the census begins.
“2017 is the projected date and we are appealing to Nigerians to see this census differently. It is not going to be business as usual we are going to rely on biometrics, with which you will capture facial marks and finger prints and that will make it distinctive and it will be difficult to manipulate the data in any way,” Mr Duru-Iheoma stated.
He explained that the budget for the exercise would again be looked at, considering current economic challenges, as directed by the Vice President.
“We already have a budget in place but the Vice President has advised us to look at it critically and we will do just that,” he said.
The Chairman of the Population Commission said some Nigerians that were not yet captured now have an opportunity to be included in the country’s data bank.
“With the way things are presently structured, there sizeable Nigerians that are not captured in our data architecture and we have to take steps to bring them in through a census and thereafter keep updating through the registration of births and deaths,” The Population Commission boss explained.
Mr Duru-Iheoma said arrangements were in top gear for the very important exercise, with a lot of support coming from government.
He said the Commission is working with other agencies and stakeholders such as the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to produce a single platform of data management for the country. This, he said will reduce cost in the future; ensure authenticated identities as well as easy personal identification.