There will be no public holiday during census – FG

The National Population Commission (NPC) has ruled out public holidays during the forthcoming census exercise billed to hold between May 3 and 7, 2023.

Explaining the reason for this, the spokesperson for the NPC, Isiaka Yahaya, told The Punch in an interview on Friday, March 31, 2023, that public holidays will allow people to move freely from one place to another.

However, he said, based on past experiences, the government may decide to impose restrictions on movement but that has not yet been confirmed.

Yahaya’s words: “There won’t be a public holiday, because during public holidays people can move from one place to another, but there may be restrictions on movement, based on past experiences. However, I can’t confirm that now. The government will come out with a categorical statement on that.

“Foreigners will be counted as long as they are in Nigeria. Everybody on the land space of Nigeria will be counted. If you look at the definition of Census, it is the enumeration of all persons. It did not say only citizens. So, everyone resident in the country during the census period will be counted.

“There will be a section that will ask if you are a foreigner or not and the country they are from. It is part of the data to be collected, so it is not separate.”

It’d be recalled that the commission had earlier promised that the exercise, which is the first to be conducted since 2006, would be done digitally.

It, therefore, urged the people to make themselves available during the exercise, adding that every Nigerian resident would be counted including foreigners.

When asked to clarify whether anyone who refuses to present themselves for the exercise would be penalised, the NPC spokesman said the commission doesn’t have the power to lock anyone up.

Yahaya added: “It is a rumour that people who refuse to be counted will be sanctioned. All I know is that we have encouraged all Nigerians to make themselves available for counting because the exercise is in the national interest. There are actually offences that we do not want to emphasise, but we do not have the power and capacity to lock anyone up.”