Census: 'We'll Not Include Religion, Ethnicity in Data Form'

Lagos, Nigeria - Federal Commissioner, National Population Com-mission (NPC) in Ogun State, Alhaji Ibraheem Aliyu, has said the commission would not yield to demand of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), on the need to include religion and ethnicity in the census data form.

Aliyu said this, adding that his commission has budgeted N34.4 billion and has obtained 30,000 GSM lines from MTN, Globacom and Mtel to ensure effective communication during the exercise.

Fielding reporters' questions shortly after a press briefing in Abeokuta on the preparation of the commission for the exercise, Aliyu said despite the clamour by CAN, the commission was not ready to shift ground on its initial decision.

"We are going ahead with the exercise without including ethnicity and religion in the forms.

"As far as the commission is concerned, these have no relationship with demography. Our decision, as we all know, will make the exercise to be less controversial," he said.

According to him, the commission arrived at this conclusion after due meetings and consultation with various stakeholders.

"Like I said earlier, this will make the exercise to be less controversial, but I can tell you that in future endeavours, ethnicity and religion will be included," he said.

He said the commission has not decided on whether it would enforce restriction on people and vehicular movements throughout the five days enumeration period, adding, that a sit-at-home verdict was likely to be passed in the first two days of the exercise.

Noting that major countries in the world were interested in the outcome of the exercise, the NPC boss disclosed further that it would take a couple of days before the result could be announced to the public.

"The result of the census is not like that of election which is announced on the spot. It involves collation, arrangement of statistical data, presentation of data before the House of Assembly and others before the final collation would be made know," he explained further.