Former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida, has cautioned Nigerians to avoid going to war over census figures.
Babangida spoke yesterday in Minna, the Niger State capital, when he hosted members of the National Population Commission (NPC), led by Aliyu Datti, a National Commissioner in the commission.
The former military leader noted that the wrong perception of what census is all about characterised past head counts in the country.
He said this had caused controversies during such exercises, a development he said should be discouraged.
Babangida noted that the inclusion of religion and tribe in the information required for registration during census was among the main causes of the controversies that usually erupt at the end of every census. This, he said, has also heightened the suspicion of the outcome of every exercise.
Babangida said: “Those who are fanatical about religion or tribe will want the outcome to be in favour of their religion or tribe. We should try and remove all these things that tend to cause controversy. We are all Nigerians. We should not go to war over census.”
The former military leader said the 1991 census under his administration failed to impress it on the people that census is not about religion or tribe but about numbers needed for planning at all levels of government.
Hailing the NPC for education Nigerians on next census, Babangida said: “If we are able to make the next exercise look like a normal routine exercise devoid of all those issues, it will help us to get rid of attendant controversies after the exercise.”
He charged the commission to ensure adequate publicity and sensitiasation for the next exercise.
Earlier the leader of the team, Barrister Aliyu Datti said the Commission embarked consultations with principal actors of previous censuses in order to enriched them in their preparation for the 2016 census
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