Mr Bayo Onanuga, Managing Director, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) has urged the National Population Commission (NPC) to conduct a new population census to resolve conflicting data on Nigeria’s population.
Onanuga gave the advice during an advocacy visit by a delegation from the NPC to the agency on Wednesday in Abuja ahead of this year’s World Population Day (WPD).
The managing director tasked the commission to provide the accurate figure of Nigeria’s population, noting that there were conflicting figures of the country’s population emanating from various sources, including the commission.
He pointed out that the last headcount carried out in 2006 surpassed the recommended 10-year intervals in accordance with international best practice.
“In Nigeria people don’t even know how many really we are; every time you hear somebody says we are 200 million.
“The last time, thechairman of NPC went to America and said we are 198 million and some people are still using the old one and saying we are one seventy something million.
“How many really are we in our country as of this moment and when next are we going to have a census.
“We are supposed to one every ten years and I think the last one we had was in 2006; it is over 10 years now.’’
Earlier, Dr Daniel Kwali, the Leader of the delegation and the National Commissioner representing FCT at the commission, said the advocacy was to seek support for the upcoming WPD.
He said the day was one of the UN’s major global celebrations marked on July 11 annually to arouse the consciousness of nations and people to issues in focus.
According to Kwali, the 2018 WPD with the theme `Family Planning as a human right’, aims to realise the essence of outcomes that will improve maternal and family health,
He said there was need to undertake elaborate media activities, sensitise Nigerians on this right, noting that the media had become the focal platform for sensitisation and awareness creation.
Kwali said that NAN, being the widest global network in the country, became the
choice of the commission.
He solicited the support of NAN, under its corporate social responsibility, to spread messages about population issues during the commemoration of the week and all through the year.
He also urged NAN to inform and educate Nigerians adequately on`parent’s basic right to freely and responsiblydetermine the number and spacing of their children.
The commissioner was accompanied on the visit by his colleague representing Lagos State and other stakeholders, including development partners and CSOs
working on demography in the country. (NAN)