Nigeria, a country with a population estimated to be around 216 million by the UN population agency, UNFPA, lacks accurate data for its citizens. Filling out official forms is a tedious task as citizens are required to provide the same information repeatedly on various platforms.
While some suggest using the Bank Verification Number (BVN) as a means of data sampling for all citizens, the number of BVNs in Nigeria is only 56.8 million, leaving a significant portion of the population unaccounted for.
Recently, an NPC official revealed that over N400 billion has been earmarked for the 2023 census, with N100 billion already spent on preparations. The census is a capital-intensive exercise, and some of the funds will go towards empowering 1.5 million Nigerians with payments ranging from N100,000 to N150,000 per person.
To enhance the movement of personnel and materials, the FG plans to acquire 56,000 vehicles, and 800,000 Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) will be procured. The National Population Commission (NPC) has also signed a landmark deal with Nigeria’s leading integrated technology brand, Zinox, for the supply of tech components and other accessories for the 2023 national census project. The contract, worth over N85bn, was recently awarded to Zinox after ratification by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
Despite the significant budget allocation for the census exercise, many social media users have criticized it without fully understanding its purpose or asking important questions about public monitoring and accountability. It is crucial for Nigerians to be aware of the operations of public accountability and not just focus on voting and supporting a particular candidate. Social advocates and influencers should do more to raise important issues and hold leaders accountable.