For the first time in 16 years, Nigeria is scheduled to hold a national census between March and April 2023.
This was part of the resolutions reached at the Council of State meeting held in Abuja on Thursday.
The meeting was chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari and was attended by former Heads of State – Abdusalami Abubakar, Goodluck Jonathan, and Yakubu Gowon.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; the Secretary to the Government of the Federation Boss Mustapha, Boss Mustapha; National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno and the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari were also in attendance.
State Governors – Hope Uzodinma of Imo State; Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, and Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State, Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state among others – took part in the deliberations.
Other issues discussed at the meeting include prerogative of mercy – 159 persons out of 162 are to be granted various levels of pardon by the President.
The Council briefed on security situations across the country and President Buhari is to hold a security meeting with security chiefs, based on the Council’s presentations, on Tuesday.
The Council also resolved to confer national honours on 434 Nigerians.
It will be the first honours granted by President Buhari since he assumed office in 2015.
The total population in Nigeria was estimated at 206.14 million people in 2020, according to the latest census figures and projections from Trading Economics.
According to the NPC boss, the national census will be held after the general election, slated for February and March 2023.
He disclosed that the commission would deploy high technology in the conduct of the national census.
Mr Kwarra said: “The National Population Commission is to conduct a Pilot Census in June this year, after the political parties’ primary elections.
“It is very crucial to hold a census because it is a very important exercise for the nation.
“This is because through the census we generate the data that we use for policy making, for planning, for development, by the three tiers of government, and the private sector, they all need this.
“If you are a private sector, you’re producing something; certainly, you need to know the population of an area if you want to create a market there.
“So, census data is very crucial, very important. Because, the data we’ve been using are just projections, estimation. And are sort of obsolete, we need the actual census data to use for our planning.’’
Governor Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa, who also briefed correspondents on the outcome of the meeting of the Council of State, disclosed that President Buhari would meet security chiefs on Tuesday next week, over the current security situation in the country.
He said the meeting followed recommendations and comments by the Council of State.
He said the necessary measures would be taken to ensure that farmers across the country carry out their activities without any hindrance to boost food production across the country.
The 2006 census placed Lagos State in the South as the second most populous state with 9.0 million people.
Overall, the 2006 census stated that the North had a higher population than the South.
According to the census results, the northern states account for 75 million people, while the southern states have 65 million people.