Awka—THE National Population Commission, NPC, yesterday in Awka made a passionate appeal to the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, and the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, not to disrupt the forthcoming census exercise scheduled to take place next year across the country, to avoid a repeat of what happened during the last exercise eleven years ago.
This came as the MASSOB leader, Comrade Uchenna Madu promised that the organization had no intention to disrupt the census exercise, provided there would be no deliberate attempt to shortchange the people during the exercise.
The Federal Commissioner in charge of NPC in Anambra State, Professor Chika Moore, who made the appeal at a news conference in Awka on the commencement of fieldwork for the third phase of the Enumeration Area Demarcation, EAD, scheduled to take place at Ekwusigo local government area of the state for the proposed 2018 national population and housing census, said everything possible was being done to ensure a successful head count.
He said the Commission had already reached out to the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, as well as the traditional and religious leaders in the state, to join NPC in appealing to the Biafra agitators to understand that the census exercise was necessary for planning a better living for everybody and should therefore be supported.
He said: “Today, we are in Nigeria and since Nigeria is conducting census, our people should allow every area in all the states to be demarcated and counted. We are not out to frustrate your agitation or whatever, but let us not use census as a political tool.
“We need to understand how we are and the number of our people to be able to plan effectively for everybody for the betterment of the entire country. In the last census exercise, some of these our brothers and sisters disrupted it such that this part of the country was undercounted.
“Let us see census beyond politics. To us at the Commission, the significance of EAD exercise goes beyond the conduct of the 2018 census as we plan to establish and maintain a national frame, including locality list and house numbering for future censuses and surveys in line with the mandate of the Commission under Section 24 of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution.
“I therefore wish to appeal to the states and local government councils, traditional institutions and communities to support the Commission in carrying out the EAD for the 2018 census by allowing unfettered access to facilities and places to be demarcated.”
The staff of NPC should be allowed to carry out their duties professionally and give to the nation an EAD frame that will form the basis for a successful census.” Reacting to the appeal, MASSOB leader, Uchenna Madu described census as something that would better the lives of the people and should be supported.