“Census a Vital Tool for National Planning, Development” – Ben Ukpong

*as Trial Census Kicks off in A'Ibom

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The Federal Commissioner representing Akwa Ibom State at the National Population Commission, NPC, Chief Benedict Ukpong has stated that census data was very important for national planning and development.

Chief Ukpong said a trial census which kicked off on Wednesday, July 13, in Akwa Ibom State, was expected to throw up some lessons which would be improved upon during the actual national census billed for April 2023.

While addressing the press on Wednesday at the NPC office, Akpan Essien Lane, Uyo, Ukpong said the trial census would last till July 31, adding that training of enumerators and supervisors had been concluded between Monday, June 27, and Friday, July 8 at the Cardinal Ekandem Seminary, Dominic Utuk Avenue, Uyo.

The Federal Commissioner, National Population Commission, NPC, Chief Benedict Ukpong, FNSE, posing with other officials after the press briefing on Wednesday at the State Headquarters of the NPC, Akpan Essien Lane Uyo.

The Okete-Okete Oro explained that as a matter of international best practice, the trial census was always carried out one year ahead of the actual census date.

He listed the aims and objectives of the trial census to include: assessment of quality and usefulness of Enumeration Area (EA) Maps; determination of current demographic and geographical changes; determination of the feasibility of uploading EA maps on the census App, that of the correlation between EAD estimated population and the pre-test enumerated population, among others.

The Federal Commissioner further stated that trial census happening simultaneously in the 36 states of the federation, was engaging 4,608 EAs for the trial census, to test-run their suitability and readiness for the actual census.

“In Akwa Ibom State, a total of 104 functionaries have been successfully trained and deployed to the nine selected LGAs and have today commenced building numbering and household listing in the selected 45 EAs”, he said.

Cross section of media representatives and NPC officials at the Press Briefing.

Listing the nine LGAs as: Uyo, Uruan, Ibiono Ibom, Ikot Ekpene, Abak, Etim Ekpo, Eket, Mkpat Enin and Okobo, Engr Ukpong said, “the selection of these areas was not based on any political consideration or personal biases. It was statistically carried out to ensure a fair analysis of the conditions and situations likely to affect the conduct of the actual census in April 2023 and prepare the Commission to overcome such challenges.”

He reiterated that the Commission has introduced new technologies such as CensusPAD and CSPro to ensure that the trial census served as a good rehearsal to make the 2023 population and housing census credible, reliable and acceptable.

Dismissing the rumours making the rounds that the Commission had opened the portal for recruitment of workers for the actual census, Engr Ukpong advised the public to be alert, owing to dubious activities of scammers that were going round defrauding people.

Cross section of pressmen and officials of the NPC.

He stated that the decision of the NPC to adopt the digital recruitment process was to meet up with the challenge of digital world, but that layers of checks have been put in place to curb corruption and manipulation of figures.

Calling on stakeholders and community leaders to embrace the census opportunity and encourage all persons to come out and be counted, Chief Ukpong gave the assurance that Akwa Ibom State would not be shortchanged, as actual population figure shall be discreetly recorded.

In his welcome address, the State Director of NPC in Akwa Ibom, Mr Emmanuel Edem said the trial census was a prelude to evaluate all aspects of the census operation.

He maintained that the ongoing trial census would assist the Commission to test the census methodology, and instruments earmarked for the conduct of the 2023 census.

Other staff members of the NPC at the event, included the State Coordinator for the 2022 Trial Census, Mr Adebola Richard; the HOD Cartography/Technical, Mrs Mercy Darnley; HOD Administration, Mrs Ime Kierian; other HODs, local government comptrollers, supervisors, among others.

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