After 17 years, the Federal Government is hoping to conduct a national census in April 2023 soon after the general elections that will hold in February and March of the same year.
Towards this, the National Population Commission (NPC) will carry out a pilot scheme this June after the conduct of primaries by political parties.
If it materialises, the census will be coming about 17 years after the last exercise, which was held in 2006.
The Director-General of NPC, Nasir Isa-Kwarra, disclosed the plan while briefing correspondents at the end of the Council of State meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Thursday.
He said the commission will deploy cutting edge technology in the conduct of the 2023 exercise, stressing the imperative of census data for planning.
According to him, the data currently being used are mere projections and are obsolete.
Isa-Kwarra said: “It is very crucial because I have highlighted that the census is a very important exercise for the nation because, through census, we generate the data that we use for policymaking, for planning, for development, by the three tiers of government, and the private sector, they all need this.
“If you are a private sector, you’re producing something, certainly, you need to know the population of an area if you want to create a market there.
“So, census data is very crucial, very important because the data we’ve been using are just projections, estimation and are sort of obsolete. We need the actual census data to use for our planning.“
Also speaking, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said the Council of State approved 159 out of 162 applications presented for consideration for the prerogative of mercy for convicts and inmates in correctional centres.
According to sources close to the meeting, among the applications rejected was that of former Managing Director of defunct Bank PHB, Francis Atuche, who was sentenced to 120 years for stealing over N25 billion.
He was said to have applied for pardon due to a life-threatening illness he is battling with.
The second person who had his application rejected was convicted for forgery and sentenced to 14 years out of which he has so far done one year and six months in prison.
The third person was convicted for obtaining money by false pretence and sentenced to seven years in prison.
The Jigawa State Governor, Abubakar Badaru, on his part disclosed that Buhari will meet security chiefs on Tuesday next week over the worsening security situation following recommendations and comments by the Council of State.
In his contribution, the Minister of Special Duties, George Akume, said the Council approved the conferment of the National Honours Award on 434 Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in their various field of endeavours.
At the meeting, members observed a minute silence in honour of the former head of Interim government Ernest Shonekan who died on January 11, 2022.
Apart from Buhari, the meeting was attended by former leaders including Generals Yakubu Gowon and Abdulsalami Abubakar and Dr Goodluck Jonathan.
Membership of the Council includes; the President, Vice President, past presidents, Senate President, House of Representatives Speaker Chief Justice of Nigeria, serving and past; Attorney General of the Federation, all State Governors and the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT).