From Jude Dangwam, Jos

The Federal Commissioner, National Population Commission (NPC) for Plateau State, Mrs. Cecilia Dapoet has countered insinuations that the earlier scheduled 2022 digital census was postponed due to lack of funds for the Commission to carry out the national exercise under the president Muhammadu Buhari administration.

She said the real reason was not money, but government’s transition programme and post-election mood in the country which the Commission saw as uncertainty hung above the nation and were careful not to fall into some pitfalls as well as plunge the country into more troubles.

Dapoet stated this yesterday during a breakfast meeting with professionals from the Media Industry held at De-Bridge Hotel in Jos the State Capital.

“The Commission is compelled to take necessary steps to correct the impression that the 2023 Population and Housing Census is postpone because of lack of funds.

“The real reason is not money, but government’s transition programme and post-election mood in the country. We all saw the cloud of uncertainty that hung above the nation after the elections and were careful not to fall into some pitfalls and plunge the country into more trouble.”

She described the postponement as a measure taken in the best interest of the country. “We cannot take things for granted, and decided to postpone the exercise. I assure you it is done in the national interest. The postponement will allow for adequate participation of this new administration.”

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The National Commissioner stressed that the postponement gave the Commission the opportunity to re-assess their Census Work-plan and to inject any input that would add value to the strategies for the implemention of the methodology for optimal success.

“There is always room for improvement on the process. Note that the Commission is committed to safeguard all resources expended while we await the new date for the Census exercise.”

The Commission reassured that the coming Census will not be like the previous exercises which were marred by incidences of “undercounting, multiple counting and inaccurate enumeration leading to Lack of trust in the census data and making it difficult to use for planning and development purposes.

“We have also put some measures in the process to curtail incidences of political interferences with the census process,” she strongly stated.

She equally disclosed that the Commission has since purchased the handheld devices to be used to capture data and are safely stored at the Central Bank in Jos. “This also means the software is ready in hand. I assure you that before the process was paused shortly to allow for a smooth transition of administration and the mood from the 2023 general elections to calm down, the Commission had already put all things in place ready for the Census exercise to take off.”

Recalled that the Digital Census exercise was earlier scheduled for 3rd to 7th May, 2023 but was postponed giving rise to many insinuations in the public space regarding the reason for the postponement.