John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Senate Committee on National Population and National Identity Card has urged the federal government to replace the obsolete equipment at the data centres of the National Population Commission (NPC) before the next census.
The Chairman of the committee, Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi, representing Kaduna North senatorial zone, made the called when members of the committee visited the NPC Data Centre in Kaduna for their oversight function.
Hunkuyi who spoke in an interview with journalists shortly after members of the committee inspected facilities at the Data Centre decried the outdated equipment used for the 2006 population census, saying that there was urgent need to replace them with the latest technology before the next census.
He also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to issue a proclamation, stating when the next census will hold so as to facilitate planning.
He noted that the last population census was conducted in 2006 pointing out that going by the 10 years interval recommended by the United Nations, another census ought to have been conducted in 2016.
He called for adequate budgetary allocation to the commission in the 2017 budget to enable it solve some its teething problems and prepare for the next head count.
Hunkuyi said: “Proclamation is what we are urging Mr. President and the federal government to do.
“We are calling on Mr. President to make a proclamation which is the first important intention of government to show that, the population census will hold in a particular year.
“We want the federal government to show commitment, by making adequate provision in the 2017 budget to support the activities of demographic survey and census to hold by the year 2018.
“Certainly all the equipment used in the 2006 census have gone obsolete, all the equipment are outdated,
“Part of our observation is that all the centres have obsolete equipment. There is the need to replace these equipment so that the centres can serve their purpose as data centres.
“Of course there are quiet a number of teething issues which are line up within the budget to flow in 2017 and 2018.
“We are within the correct time for preparations to start if government decides to conduct the census in 2018.”
He promised that should there be any repeal or addition to the instrument of the law that will make NPC deliver its mandate, the senate, especially his committee, is ready to assist the commission to perform its functions very well.
He added that the senate will support any move for the commission to sale its data and information to both private and public institutions so as to generate some revenue.
“Collection of data and information costs money and there are a lot of both private and public institutions that require data for planning. That data should be sold to generate some revenue for the commission,” he said.