The Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) may not be given special consideration by the National Population Commission (NPC) as one of the groups and organizations to be consulted or enlightened for the 2023 census exercise.
This is because members of the separatist group are Nigerians who already know that any headcount in any environment is for the advantage of the people of that environment including those agitating for freedom.
The Federal Commissioner for National Population Commission in Abia State, Chief Nwabuisi Nwanne who dropped this hint in Umuahia on Friday while answering questions from journalists on whether the commission has reached out to the leadership of IPOB to solicit for their cooperation for the exercise, maintained that IPOB ought to be aware that any headcount in a given society is for the interest of all, adding that treating them to as a special case that should be consulted does not fall in line with the required standard.
“If you say you’re agitating for a people, you should at least endeavour to know their population. The Southeast was under enumerated during the 2006 census exercise because a similar group called for its boycott and now we’re suffering it”, he declared.
Addressing a news conference in Umuahia on Friday to inform the public on the ongoing Trial Census that started on July 13, 2022 in Abia State, Nwanne said the exercise that will end on July 30, 2022 is for preparation for the population and housing census coming up next year.
According to him, nine local government areas from the three Senatorial districts are being involved, saying that the exercise is a dress rehearsal to evaluate all aspects of census population before the main census on a limited scale.
In his remarks, the chairman of Abia Census Committee and former Deputy Governor of the state, Hon Acho Nwakanma tasked the people of the state to take the census exercise serious, assuring that the Abia State government will assist the National Population Commission and enumerators to achieve their target both at the trial census period and 2023 headcount count.
He was represented by the Secretary of committee, Chief Charles Amah.
The chairman of the Abia State Traditional Rulers Council, HRH Eze Ndubuisi Nwabeke represented by his deputy chairman of the council for Abia Central, HRH Eze Geoffrey Onwuka, described the present Abia population of 2.6 million people as unacceptable and asked the people of the state to cooperate with the enumerators to ensure that Abia gets its rightful population.
The Abia State Director of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Dr Mrs Ngozi Okechukwu, disclosed that her agency is presently training some of its personnel on census enumeration to assist the NPC to achieve a successful enumeration exercise in the state.
The LGAs being enumerated in the trial census are: Bende, Ohafia and Isuikwuato for Abia North, while Umuahia North, Isiala Ngwa South and Osisioma are for Abia Central. Abia South has: Aba North, Obingwa and Ugwunagbo.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.