FIC Report (Abia State) – The National Population Commission, NPC has solicited the support and collaboration of the media towards delivering a credible 2023 National Population and housing Census.
The development was part of outcome of a one-day capacity building workshop for journalists on effective reporting on the 2023 Population and Housing Census held in the State capital, Abia.
The National Population Commission (NPC) warned that the lack of active participation of critical stakeholders poses serious threat to a successful National Population and Housing Census in the state.
The Head of the Technical Unit of the Commission, Mr Kalu-Agbai Uduma said: “There is serious fear that the census in Abia is about to fail because of the lack of participation by the critical stakeholders.
“These stakeholders include the Community Leaders, Traditional rulers and State Government.”
He regretted that the stakeholders, who ought to be co-drivers of the exercise in the state, were not living up to expectation.
He said that the commission had endured the situation for the past two years and could no longer pretend that all was well.
“We have cried and are still crying. The census is about to fail because there is crisis everywhere.
“Whenever we encounter any challenge, we do not get the needed support and protection from the stakeholders.
“In the past, traditional rulers provided substantial support to the commission in mobilising their people, providing accommodation and some logistical support to our people.
“Regrettably, today, those supports and active involvement by these critical stakeholders are no longer forthcoming,” Uduma said.
He further feared that the outcome of this year’s exercise in the South-East would be worse than that of 2006.
According to him, the 2006 exercise suffered a huge setback in the zone due to the negative activities of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra.
He spoke further on why tribe and religion were no longer considered a factor in the conduct of the nation’s census.
Uduma said: “If census is to provide the necessary data for planning and development purposes, which it is, then tribe and religion are immaterial.
He therefore appealed to the media to effectively collaborate with the commission to educate and sensitise the Abia residents to present themselves for the exercise.
He also urged South-East residents to embrace the registration of birth as a way of life like in other zones for easy assessment of the population growth rate of the area.
Uduma said that no state in the country was empowered by the Act establishing the commission to conduct census but said that states, local governments or organisations were free to conduct security mapping.
“This is very good in tracking crime and criminals in any geographical location because it captures every street, pathways as well as structures and their features within a specific area,” he said.
Earlier in an address of welcome, the State Director of the commission, Mrs Juliana Ezebuiro, said that the commission organised the Training in order to help the journalists to understand the role and basic concepts of Census as organized by the Commission expected them to play during the exercise.
She said that the opportunity will avail Journalists to be updated on the Status of Preparatory activities for the 2023 Census and also strengthen Journalists understanding and application of basic concepts in Census taking.
Ezebuiro described journalists as essential partners to the commission, saying that the census could only succeed with the active participation of the media.
The Director, however ,described the media as a very important sector needed to secure the cooperation and support of other stakeholders through effective communication for the success of the census process.
She further stressed that Census is a national event which bestows on every citizen the responsibility to participate by presenting themselves to be counted.
The participants described the Training as highly educative and beneficial.
Different papers presented at the event included
1. HOW TO GENERATE MEDIA CONTENTS ON THE 2023 POPULATION AND HOUSING CENSUS…Allison Obiajunwa
2. ENUMERATION AREA DEMARCATION AND DIGITAL MAPPING FOR 2023 CENSUS…Uduma
3. SD SPEECH ON WORKSHOP.
4. PROCESSES AND METHODOLOGY FOR THE 2023 CENSUS
5. STATE LEVEL CAPACITY FOR JOURNALISTS.
6. PROCESSES AND METHODOLOGY FOR THE 2023 CENSUS – STATE LEVEL CAPACITY FOR JOURNALISTS.
7. HISTORY OF POPULATION CENSUSES IN NIG…Josephine Uchechi etc.