Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State has called on the National Population Commission (NPC), to provide Nigeria with a scientific and credible census that will not only aid in providing incontestible data for national planning and development, but one that will make the international community perceive Nigeria as a serious country in the comity of nations.

The Governor  who stated this while speaking on the occasion of the 2019 World Population Day celebration in Uyo said his adminstration remains committed in partnering and supporting the NPC to achieve its objective of conducting credible census that will help in formulating national, economic and development policies.

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Represented by the Special Adviser, Bureau of Political and Legislative Affairs, Hon Pastor Sunny Ibuot, the Governor cautioned the Commission against politicization of the census process, insisting that once the process is perceived not to be in line with international best practices, the global community will never regard Nigeria as a serious nation that is ready to catch up with the rest of the world.

He explained that while the state government remains committed to utilising and incorporating credible data generated by federal agencies in policy formulation and implementation for the good of Akwa Ibom people, that some politicized data and categorisation of Akwa Ibom as the state with the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence and highest unemployment rate was totally false and could be disputable by even residents of the state who are in tune with the true reality on ground.

Gov Emmanuel commended the NPC for the successful flag off of the 5th Enumeration Area Demarcation (EAD) in Ibiono Local Government Area (LGA), assuring the commission of the continuous support of his adminstration towards the success of the exercise.

He assured NPC officials from Abuja who are in the state to monitor the EAD exercise in Ibiono LGA of their safety and the hospitality of Akwa Ibom people as the state remains the most peaceful in the country.

Speaking earlier, the federal commissioner representing Akwa Ibom state in NPC, Chief Engr Benedict Ukpong, commended the state government for its support to the NPC, which culminated in the successful EAD exercise in the four local government areas of Oron, Nsit Ibom, Ikot Ekpene and Onna, and expressed optimism that the ongoing fifth EAD exercise in Ibiono LGA will not be an exception.

According to Engr Ukpong, the EAD is one of the core preparatory activities for the census exercise as it constitutes the foundation on which the entire census architecture stands.

He said the EAD forms the basis for the planning and successful execution of the forthcoming census project, pledging the resolve of NPC to deliver to the nation a census that is accurate, reliable, acceptable and verifiable.

On the 2019 World Population Day, Engr Ukpong said the theme of this years celebration, “25 years of International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), accelerating the promise”, reflects the decision of the 1994 Cairo conference where 179 countries of the world adopted the Visionary Programme of Action and agreed that putting people first, empowering women and enabling people to freely decide the time and spacing of their pregnancy would clear the way to lasting development.

He recalled that the ICPD achieved global consensus on issues such as universal education, reduction of infant and child mortality, reduction of maternal mortality and access to reproductive and sexual health services including family planning.

He advocated for more government funding to help achieve the ICPD goals and abolishing cultural practices that inhibits the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) by the year 2030.

Also speaking, the State Director of NPC in Akwa Ibom, Mr Benjamin Ndabong said, census remains a key parameter in global economic planning and development in view of the population explosion the world is grappling with.

He said though China remains the world most populated nation followed by India and the United States of America, that Nigeria is the sixth most populous country in the world which makes it imperative for the NPC to give the country a credible census that will help Nigeria achieve economic growth and development.

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