The National Security Adviser (NSA), retired Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno, yesterday, inaugurated the National Census Security and Logistics Committee for the 2023 Population and Housing Census.
Speaking at the ceremony in Abuja, Monguno said the committee was imperative to contain all manner of security challenges that might arise during the census. He urged the committee members to be prepared for risk factors ranging for banditry, kidnapping etc that could hinder a successful census.
“This committee must be conscious of several risk factors that may militate against the successful conduct of the 2023 Census.
“The planning and conduct of a gigantic programme, such as the census, will no doubt come with its challenges in terms of security and logistics arrangement.
“Potential areas of threats to the census include physical attacks on NPC staff and facilities. Attacks on security personnel on census duty, inter/intra-communal violence disrupting preparatory and main census work.
“Attacks targeting NPC databases and ICT architecture, intimidation of members of the public to dissuade them from participating in the process, snatching and destruction of census materials, among others,” he said.
The NSA identified banditry, kidnapping, terrorism, insurgency and other violent crimes as the most prominent posing a major challenge to successful census.
He said the committee was in accordance with the Federal Government’s commitment to the security of its citizens, especially during and after the census.
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“It is expected that with coordinated synergy by this Committee, the safe movement of personnel and materials before, during and after the census will be guaranteed,” he said.
He expressed confidence that with the calibre of members of the Committee, that the national assignment would be carried out successfully. The security expert said the Committee would be replicated in all the 36 states, the Federal Capital Territory and in the 774 Local Government Areas of the country.
Speaking, the Executive Chairman, National Population Commission (NPC), Alhaji Nasir Kwarra, described the census “as next to war and the biggest peacetime activity in terms of mobilisation of men and resources.”
Kwarra emphasised the importance of the committee to the commission, and to us in the Commission, saying that it was key to a successful 2023 census.
“For us in the commission, the importance of the Security and Logistics Committee cannot be overemphasised to the operation and success of the 2023 Population and Housing census.”
He said the Commission attached great importance to the work of the Security and Logistics Committee that was very important in the Commission’s quest to give Nigeria a credible, and acceptable census. The NPC boss assured all members of the committee of unwavering support from the Commission.
“We are ready to fully support the Committee in all areas to make it succeed in its assignments.
The Commission will, without delay, organise workshops on processes and methodologies for the census to keep members of the committee up-to-date on the preparation for the census,” he said.