President Muhammadu Buhari has approved release of N10 billion to the National Population Commission (NPC) for continuation of Enumeration Area Demarcation (EAD) in 546 Local Government Areas in the country.
Buhari also approved an additional N4.5 billon to be included in the 2021 Budget for completion of the exercise as part of the preparations for the next census.
Acting Chairman of NPC, Dr. Eyitayo Oyetunji, disclosed these on Monday in Abuja while briefing reporters on release of the funds and the update on the EAD at the NPC headquarters.
Oyetunji said: “The President has graciously followed this up by a further approval of an additional N45 billion to be included in the 2021 Budget for the completion of the exercise as part of preparations for the next census.
“No doubt, this milestone development, under-scores the President’s understanding of the role of data, especially demographic data as the bedrock for informed development planning and allocation of resources, facilities and services.
“The President has by this giant intervention demonstrated his desire to invest in the population, especially our teeming youthful population and to thereby lead the country to harness the demographic dividend.”
Asked when the next census will commence, Oyetunji said: “I can tell you that we are very close to the conduct of the election. You will recall that President Muhammadu Buhari appointed the complete membership of the NPC including a substantive chairman.
“That in itself is an indication that government is working towards the exercise. And you will also agree that at a time like this there was high demand for scarce resources for government to commit a sum of N10 billion to the EAD is an indication that we are truly closer than when we began.
“Like they say in the bible the exert time and date is what we have not yet indicated. With the speed we want to complete the EAD which is the major preparatory activity, for us at the NPC we are ready at any moment and prepared to conduct the census. We just need a nod to do so.”
The NPC boss said 228 LGAs were successfully demarcated across the 36 States and FCT in the previous nine phases.
He said the 10th Phase of the exercise will commence on 5th and end on October 29th 2020, including training and fieldwork.
Oyetunji also disclosed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has entered into a special arrangement with NPC under which the NPC is assisting INEC to create digitised maps of INEC Registration Areas (Wards) for the first time as part of the EAD.
He said it is expected that the output of the collaborative effort will further enhance the accuracy and transparency of future elections.