Contrary to the United Nations estimating Nigeria’s population at slightly over 200 million, the National Population Commission (NPC) puts the country’s population figure at 198 million.
Director-General of NPC, Dr Ghaji Ismaila Bello, who spoke at a press conference in Abuja to mark the 2019 World Population Day entitled: “25 years of ICPD: Accelerating the Promise,” maintained that the country needs another census to clear the air on the actual population figure.
“As at today, we are about 198 million. Recall that three months ago, UNFPA brought out a figure of 201 million and we were asked to comment on that. For us, the difference between the UNFDP figure and ours is a function of assumptions,” Bello said.
“In the absence of an accurate census, you have to use model and projection in order to arrive at a figure that you are projecting. There is no major fundamental difference per se between 201 and 198 million. Granted that 3 million can be the size of most countries, but when you are talking of a very huge figure the margin of zero is small.
“It is imperative that Nigeria should undertake another census in the light of the recommendation of the UN for census to be taken every ten years. And bearing in mind that the last census was undertaken in 2006 and we ought to have taken another census in 2016. I can assure you that the Commission is ready and there is a government process which gives us a lot of hope that the issue will soon be addressed.”
NPC’s Acting National Chairman Yusuf Anka noted that Nigeria still lagged behind in meeting the goals of the ‘Cairo Plan’, which gives women greater control over their lives, promote economic equality and opportunity, stressing that the plan should be implemented.
“Nigeria is still lagging behind in meeting the Cairo commitment. More troubling is the new angle of the alarming rate of sexual violence, with increases within humanitarian settings such as IDP camps,” he said.