•Commission to go ahead with preparations for 2018 census despite opposition
Paul Obi in Abuja
The National Population Commission (NPC) on Tuesday threw its weight behind the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammad Sanusi’s call for birth control policy, where parents could only give birth to the number of children they can cater for.
NPC Chairman, Chief Eze Duruiheoma, gave his support while on a visit to a staff of the commission, Mrs. Oluwakemi Uduehi, who gave birth to quintuplet (five children) at the National Hospital in Abuja.
Speaking against the backdrop of the emir’s call for parents to only give birth to the number of children within their capacity, Duruiheoma stated that “it is not a matter of me subscribing to the emir’s call. The NPC encourages that.
“The country’s National Population Policy encourages parents, families to bring to the world as many number of children they can take responsibility for. That is very important.”
He argued that though the National Population Policy does not in any way impose the number of children parents could have, it ensures that such parents capablity of taking care of such children remains sacrosanct.
“When I refer to National Population Policy, population policy is a document with which population is managed for the purpose of control, which also preaches moderation.
“So, let every Nigerian produce as big a family as you can personally take care of, because you have to be able to take care of them,” Duruiheoma added.
On birth and death registration, the NPC boss also informed journalists that the commission “does not pretend that we do not have problems in that area. You know that this country us very vast, therefore, to cover a country of about 900,000 square metres is not an easy task.”
He further presented babies items donated by the commission to Mrs. Uduehi.
On her part, Uduehi commended the generosity of the NPC leader, thanking the commission for the enormous support her family has received since she gave birth to the quintuplet.
Also speaking, the Chief Medical Director, National Hospital, Abuja, Dr. Jaf Momoh, explained that medically, the choice for number of children remains personal preference.
Momoh maintained that “this is a matter of personal choice, and depends on the ability and endowment in terms of material and human resources to help you take of those children.”
Meanwhile, the commisson yesterday insisted that it would go ahead with preparations for the 2018 national census despite stiff opposition to the exercise by prominent Nigerians, including the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara.
Dogara had earlier this month cautioned the NPC and the federal government to desist from conducting the 2018 national census given the possibility of the exercise being manipulated by politicians ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Also, a human right activist, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), had kicked against the 2018 census, warning that it will be prone to crisis and the country could be plunged into sever political upheaval.
But speaking with journalists in Abuja on the matter, NPC Chairman, Chief Eze Duruiheoma, held the commission would continue with its plans and preparations considering that the federal government has not directed that the planned census exercise be halted.
“You see, NPC is an agency of the government. Whatever we say, whatever we do, we give it to the government; government reacts and directs us.
“The speaker is entitled to his views, any other person is also entitled to his or her views. That is where we are. We are supposed to be an umpire.
“We have not been asked not to go on with preparations, so we will continue to prepare. In any case, even if it is to be held in 2020 or 2021, there has to be preparations. I expect the government to direct us,” Duruiheoma added.
According to him, “If the census will take place in 2030, there has to be some preparations. Preparation is a regular ongoing thing.
“There is nothing like a tune off; it is not election. Even if it is election, you have to prepare for it.”