I am pleased to welcome distinguished gentlemen of the press to this briefing on the commencement of the Trial Census in preparation for the first fully digital census in Nigeria in April 2023. However, my first task today is to express profound appreciation of the Commission to the distinguished gentlemen of the press for the robust and professional manner they have consistently disseminated information and educated the general public on the next census. Your incisive reporting of census preparatory activities so far has placed the 2023 Census at the center of national discourse thereby mobilizing Nigerians for its successful conduct. As the Commission takes the next crucial steps toward the 2023 Census, the Commission will continue to count on the collaboration and partnership of the Nigerian media.
As you are aware, His Excellency, President Muhammad Buhari, GCFR, acting on the advice of the National Council of State has graciously approved the conduct of the Trial Census for June 2022 and the next Population and Housing Census in April 2023. This approval underscores the President’s commitment to the planned and sustainable development of the country. The President has by this singular action demonstrated his desire to place the welfare of the Nigerian people at the center of governance in Nigeria.
Consequent to this approval, the Commission has intensified preparatory activities deploying technological innovations on a massive scale to conduct a truly scientific census that will not only be accurate and reliable but also transparent and acceptable to all Nigerians. 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, which is also known as the “census dress rehearsal”, is another key preparatory activity for the Census. It is a process in which all census operations are tested in a detailed and comprehensive manner. This takes place as a matter of best practice about a year before the actual census date to assess the scenarios that may be presented during the main census.
II. Date of the Trial Census
In line with the approval of the Federal Government, the Trial Census will be conducted from 27th June to 30th July 2022. The timelines for the Trial Census activities are presented below:
- State Training of field functionaries – 27th June to 8th July 2022 (12 days)
- Building Numbering and Household listing – 11th to 16th July 2022 (6 days)
- Validation of EA frame – 17th to 19th July (3 days)
- Enumeration of Persons (20th to 24th July 2022) – (5 days)
- Mop up Enumeration – 25th to 30th July 2022 (5 days)
III. Objectives of the Trial Census
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.
For this Trial Census, the specific objectives are:
- Assess the quality and the usefulness of the Enumeration Area (EA) maps that had been created,
- Determine the possible demographic as well as geographical changes that might have occurred in the EAs carved between 2016-2018 and their implications for census taking,
- Determine the feasibility of uploading EA maps on the census app for house numbering and household listing as well as population enumeration,
- Determine the correlation between EAD estimated population and the pre-test enumerated population,
- Determine the requisite educational qualification for the 2023 census enumerators,
- Determine the appropriateness of the estimated workload on the enumerators and
- Determine the necessary logistics support that might be required from the states and LGAs.
Being a sample exercise, the Trial Census will only be conducted in selected areas. It will be covered as follows:
- One Local Government Area will be fully covered in One LGA in One State in each of the six geo-political zones and
- One supervisory area in 3 LGAs in each of the three senatorial districts in the remaining 30 states and the FCT.
The six local government areas which will be fully enumerated are as follows:
- Toungo Local Government Area, Adamawa State – North East
- Daura Local Government Area, Katsina State, North West
- Karu Local Government Area, Nasarawa State, North Central
- 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.
In total, Seven Thousand, Seven Hundred and Eighteen (7,718) EAs have been selected for the Trial Census to test run suitability and readiness for the actual census in 2023.
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. However, 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.
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.
V. Recruitment of personnel
Census is a massive operation that involves the engagement of over one million personnel and managing such a huge workforce manually will raise huge logistical and documentation challenges. It is in recognition of this fact that the Commission resolved that the recruitment for the 2023 Census will be electronic. The Trial Census provides an opportunity to test the feasibility of e-recruitment. The recruitment process for the Trial Census was fully digitalized. The online portal (https://recruitment.adhoctrial.nationalpopulation.gov.ng) was activated on 30th May 2022. In line with the Commission’s decision to recruit personnel from communities, the portal was geo-fenced to only the selected areas. All the applications received were screened and 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.
VI. Training and Fieldwork
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.
VII. Advocacy and Publicity
The cooperation and support of the stakeholders and the general public are vital for the successful conduct of the Trial Census. Consequently, 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.
Notwithstanding all arrangements and precautions worked out by the Commission, the cooperation of all stakeholders remains paramount for the success of the Trial Census exercise. I, therefore, wish to call 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.
In view of the precarious security situation in some of the communities, I wish to appeal to security agents in the selected LGAs to assist in providing security for our field functionaries and materials.
Finally, the Trial Census is a test case for the Commission which we hope to pass with resounding success. Our confidence is reinforced by 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.
May I, therefore, appeal to you, 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. Our expectation is that you will continue to report the 2023 Census truthfully and professionally in order to positively sensitize the general populace for a successful and fulfilling national assignment.
I thank you all for your kind attention.
Hon. Nasir Isa Kwarra
27th June 2022