By Musa Sunusi Ahmad
Following the national population census conducted in 2006, which pegged the population of the state at 1.8m, Nasarawa has remained the most shortchanged state in the country.
Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule stated this while speaking at a stakeholders awareness workshop on Enumeration Area Demarcation, as well as flagging off of training programme for enumerators, organized by the National Population Commission, in Lafia, on Wednesday.
Engineer Sule said by the nation contnously using the 1.8m population figure for the state, Nasarawa is being denied lots of opportunities, stressing that if there is any state being shortchanged, Naarwa remains most shortchanged state than any other state in the federation.
According to the Governor, even though the state appealed it case before the census tribunal, nothing came out of it, stressing that if the exercise has been fair, considering the population density in Mararaba, Karu, Masaka, Panda, Uke and Keffi, Nasarawa should not have anything less than 3.5m population.
He noted that since President Muhammadu Buhari has made known his resolve to conduct a credible, fair and authentic census, all that Nasarawa State requires, is fairness.
The Governor lamented that when it comes to population census, Nasarawa and Lagos share similar fate, where a proportion of the population residing in these states, relocate to their state of origin for the purpose of census but return to the states to enjoy the benefit of the census.
He therefore appealed to traditional rulers, local government chairmen, as well as government officials, to take up the awareness campaign, with a view to making those people to remain and be counted in the state during the next national population census.
“The essence of that is not for the state to get extra money but for the state to be able to manage itself.
“If we know we have this number of people at a certain location, it gives us the opportunity to plan for those people,” he said.
Engineer Sule emphasized that census is for where the people live, not where they come from.
“Those who live in Abuja, the FCT, should remain there and be counted. When they are counted, this will give us a good number that we can plan with,” the Governor said.
Earlier, Chairman of the National Population Commission, Hon. Nasir Isa Kwarra, said planning for census is anchored on the EAD as the basis for estimating both human and material resources for the census.
Hon. Kwarra, who was represented at the event by the Federal.Commissioner representing Benue State, Barrister Orih Ochini, pointed out that the success of a credible and accurate census, depends on the quality and reliability of the EAD.
He disclosed that a total of 260 LGAs have been successfully demarcated, across the 36 states and FCT in the previous 10 phases of the exercise, adding that the ongoing exercise, which is the 11th phase, will commence on December 9, 2020 and end on January 20, 2021.
The chairman further disclosed that the training of trainers and other technical officers for the EAD has just been completed in Akwanga, Nasarawa State, while states training for demarcators will begin across the country on December 9, 2020.