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MASSOB, IPOB may disrupt 2018 census: NPC

By Pamela Eboh, Awka on 16/02/2017

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National Population Commission (NPC) logo
National Population Commission (NPC) logo

The National Population Commission (NPC) yesterday expressed fears that the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) may disrupt the forthcoming census exercise scheduled to take place next year across the country, a repeat of what happened during the last exercise eleven years ago.

The Federal Commissioner in charge of NPC in Anambra State, Professor Chika Moore, made the declaration yesterday at a news conference in Awka on the commencement of fieldwork for the third phase of the Enumeration Area Demarcation (EAD), scheduled to take place at Ekwusigo Local Government Area (LGA) of the state for the proposed 2018 national population and housing census.

He said the Commission had already reached out to the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, as well as the traditional and religious leaders in the state, to join NPC in appealing to the Biafra agitators to understand that the census exercise was necessary for planning for better living for everybody and should therefore be supported adding that everything possible was being done to ensure a successful head count.

Moore stated: “Today we are in Nigeria and since Nigeria is conducting census, our people should allow every area in all the states to be demarcated and counted. We are not out to frustrate your agitation or whatever, but let us not use census as a political tool.

“We need to understand how we are and the number of our people to be able to plan effectively for everybody, for the betterment of the entire country. In the last census exercise, some of these our brothers and sisters disrupted it such that this part of the country was undercounted.

“Let us see census beyond politics. To us at the Commission, the significance of EAD exercise goes beyond the conduct of the 2018 census as we plan to establish and maintain a national frame, including locality list and house numbering for future censuses and surveys in line with the mandate of the Commission under Section 24 of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution.

He called on the states and local government councils, traditional institutions and communities to support the Commission in carrying out the EAD for the 2018 census by allowing unfettered access to facilities and places to be demarcated.

Moore, while noting that the 2018 census was not captured in the 2017 budget, said that a special proclamation by the President would make it possible for special funds to be allocated for the exercise.

According to him, funding was the main problem facing the Commission, adding that once the funds were provided, EAD would be carried out before the commencement of the actual census exercise next year because adequate and trained manpower was already in place.

The NPC National Commissioner also appealed for cooperation from the people towards the staff of NPC so they can carry out their duties professionally and give to the nation an EAD frame that will form the basis for a successful census.

In his reaction, the leader of MASSOB, Uchenna Madu, described census as something that would better the lives of the people and should be supported.

He maintained that the organisation had no intention of disrupting the census exercise, provided there would be no deliberate intention to short-change the people during the exercise.

He said: “MASSOB will not disrupt any positive step that will better the lives and existence of Ndigbo. The plan by the National Population Commission to conduct the census in Biafra land cannot be disrupted, provided they do not have any ulterior motive to short-change or subject Ndigbo to minority status.

“They should also be aware that we are Biafrans and not Nigerians, even though they are the ones conducting the census.”

Source News Express

Posted 16/02/2017 12:15:55 AM

 

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