The Executive Chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC), Hon. Nasir Isa Kwarra, has said that a total of Seven Thousand, Seven Hundred and Eighteen (7,718) Enumerated Areas (EAs’) have been selected for the Trial Census scheduled for June 27 to July 30, adding that the exercise is to test run suitability and readiness for the upcoming 2023 Population and Housing Census.

NPC Chairman, Hon. Nasir Isa Kwarra addressing Journalists during the Press briefing at the NPC Headquarters in Abuja

Hon. Kwara disclosed at the NPC Headquarters in Abuja during a media briefing on the commencement of the Trial Census exercise also known as the “census dress rehearsal”, another key preparatory activity ahead of the 2023 census.

He explained that the “census dress rehearsal”, is a process in which all census operations are tested in a detailed and comprehensive manner about a year to the actual census date to assess the different scenarios that may be presented during the main census.

“As you are aware, the Commission has carried out the demarcation of the entire land mass of Nigeria into small Enumeration Areas that can be covered by a team of enumerators, and the first and second pretests to test the census instruments.

“The Trial census will test all aspects of census operations, from planning to implementation including logistics arrangement and management, questionnaire design and format, training procedures, fieldwork operations, publicity, payment system, data processing, data tabulations and analysis.”

According to the Chairman, some States have been selected for full LGA enumeration to test challenges around complete coverage under various scenarios such as in hard-to-reach areas, special populations, and rural-urban settings.

The six Local Government Areas which he said will be fully enumerated were, Toungo Local Government Area, Adamawa State – North East; Daura Local Government Area, Katsina State – North West; Karu Local Government Area, Nasarawa State – North Central. Others were, Imeko-Afon Local Government Area, Ogun State – South West; Idemili South Local Government Area, Anambra State – South East; Brass Local Government Area, Bayelsa State – South-South.

For the remaining 30 States and the FCT, 45 Enumerated Areas have been selected from 9 LGAs each that cut across 3 Senatorial Districts of those States.

“The selection of the coverage areas has been scientifically and purposively carried out to achieve the objectives of the Trial Census. The selection of samples from all States of the Federation and the FCT is expected to yield nationwide information on state-specific issues that may arise for the next census and come up with possible solutions for addressing these challenges.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Trial Census is not the actual enumeration of persons for the 2023 Population and Housing Census. In other words, the outcome of the Trial Census will not form the basis of the 2023 Census. Data generated during the Trial Census will not be used to arrive at figures for the 2023 Census, which is going to be zero-based and from information collected in April 2023,” he explained.

NPC Chairman further disclosed that the recruitment process for the Trial Census was fully digitalized and that the online recruitment portal was activated on 30th May, 2022. He said that in line with the Commission’s decision to recruit personnel from communities, the portal was geo-fenced to only the selected areas and all the applications received were screened, which at the end of the exercise, a total of 14,461 field functionaries comprising 13,461 Enumerators and 1000 facilitators for the Trial Census were successful.

 Hon. Kwarra, noted that in consideration of the fact that the success of the Trial Census depends on the knowledge and skills of the personnel engaged, an elaborate arrangement was made for the Trial Census training.

“The Master Trainers workshop took place in Nasarawa State from 30th May to 3rd June, 2022 followed by training of Principal Trainers in the six geo-political zones from 6th to 15th June 2022. The Training of functionaries and field work commences today in all States of the Federation and the FCT and will take place for 12 days (27th of June to 8th July 2022).

“Topics to be covered at the training of the Trial Census field personnel are census methodology, planning and operations, use of digital maps and Computer Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI), building numbering and household listing, enumeration procedure, completion of Census Questionnaire, and use of historical events and special population. This will be complemented with hands-on exercises and field practicals to ensure that personnel knowledge and skills are deepened,” he added.

Chairman emphasized that the cooperation and support of the stakeholders and the general public are vital for the successful conduct of the Trial Census.

He said, “the Commission has put in place elaborate arrangements for advocacy and publicity. The convening of this press briefing which will be replicated in all the 36 states and the FCT is one component of the advocacy and publicity drive. Other activities to be implemented are advocacy visits by Honourable Federal Commissioners in their respective states, Town Hall meetings with key stakeholders, field sensitization and face-to-face communication in selected areas, and production and airing of jingles on radio and television at national and state levels as well as participation in radio and television programmes.

“To deepen the national support base not only for the Trial Census but also the main Census, the Commission plans to convene a National Stakeholders Workshop in due course. His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has graciously accepted to declare the event open. The workshop will be replicated in all the states of the Federation and the FCT,” he added.

Hon. Nasir Kwarra, called on all key stakeholders, especially State Governments, Local Government Councils and traditional institutions in the selected LGAs to extend support and assistance to the functionaries assigned to work within their domain.

He also urged the security agencies and the Nigerian Media who are our strategic partners to join hands with the Commission in realizing the dream of providing the needed demographic data that will facilitate and place our country on the pedestal of sustainable development.

“The Trial Census is a test case for the Commission which we hope to pass with resounding success. Our confidence is reinforced in the fact that, over the years, the Commission has invested considerable time and resources planning for the census drawing from its rich institutional experience to give the nation a truly scientific census data for planning,” he assured.

NPC Chairman flanked by the Acting Director-General and the Honourable Federal Commissioners during the Press briefing