2023 Census: NPC Strengthens Media Capacity, Describes Preparations as Reassuring

By Oswald Agwu, Abakaliki

The National Population Commission has solicited the support and collaboration of the media towards  delivering a credible 2023 National Population and housing Census.

The development was part of outcome of a one day capacity building workshop for journalists in Ebonyi State, held Wednesday in Abakaliki, the State capital.

The event organized by the Commission was focused on equipping selected journalists with requisite tools for effective reporting on 2023 population and housing Census.

The Honourable Federal Commissioner representing Ebonyi State at the Commission, Darlington Okereke,  declared the workshop open on behalf of the Commission's National Chairman, Nasir Isa Kwara.
Speaking, Okereke highlighted the level of the Commission's preparatory activities leading to the census, from the Enumeration area demarcation to the recent trial census, describing their outcomes as both resounding and reassuring.

He maintained that the Commission's task of generating credible and reliable data for national planning demands the cooperation of all Stakeholders in the country.

Okereke described the media as a very important sector needed to secure  the cooperation and support of other stakeholders, through effective communication for the success of the census process.

He further stressed that Census is a national event which bestows on every citizen the responsibility to participate  by presenting themselves to be counted.

Okereke explained: "I am pleased to inform you that the outcome of the preparatory activities of the 2023 population and housing Census has been reassuring and resounding.

"The Commission  has successfully demarcated 774 LGAs in all States of the Federation and the FCT.

"The Commission has also conducted the first and second pre-test exercises to test the census instruments.

"The trial census was equally conducted in July 2022 to test run our instruments and our preparedness for the 2023 population and housing census.

"The Commission is on course in its mission of delivering an accurate census to Nigerians, and a strategic partnership with the media will form the tripod upon which the census architecture will stand to reach out to the Nigerian people."

In an opening remark, the Ebonyi State Director, National Population Commission, Mrs Julia Nneka Manyike, explained the aims of the workshop to include strengthening journalist's understanding and application of basic concepts in census taking.

"To neutralize negative prejudices, misperceptions and misrepresentation on the census exercise among sections of the Nigerian media, and to update the journalists on the State of preparatory activities  for the 2023 census" Manyike added.

The State Director, in a presentation revealed that the Commission would train for deployment a total of 786, 741 functionaries for the 2023 census, consisting of 623, 797 enumerators, 125, 944 supervisors, 24, 001 Data Quality Assistants, 12, 000 Field Coordinators, 1,000 Data Quality Managers, 1, 639 Training Centre Administrators and  59, 000 Local government area level facilitators across the country.

Others who made presentations, including the State HOD, Public Affairs Department, Mrs Nwakaego Nwachukwu; the HOD, Census, Mrs Leticia Onyeji and the HOD Technical, Mr George Nwankwegu, took participants on various topics, ranging from the history of Census in Nigeria to the technological innovations in the 2023 population and housing census.

Delivering on how to generate media content on the 2023 population and housing census, Nwachukwu stated: "Census is basically a field based activity where the preparatory and enumeration of persons take place.

"Field visits offer immense sources of information that can be mined  by the Journalists to produce  a wide variety of media contents.
"News can be generated, likewise interviews with field functionaries and other stakeholders."

The Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Ebonyi State, Comrade Tony Nwizi, in his goodwill message appreciated the Commission for the initiative, describing it as apt.

Nwizi, also a participant at the event, pledged the support of Journalists in the State to enable the commission succeed in its mandate.

He advised his colleagues to operate with zeal, and in line with the etiquette and codes of principles guiding the media profession, emphasizing developmental journalism above sentiments.

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