Reps Initiate Inquiry into N200bn Expenditure on Postponed Census
In a move aimed at shedding light on the utilization of funds earmarked for the 2023 Population and Housing Census, the Nigerian House of Representatives has voted in favor of launching an inquiry into the spending by the National Population Commission (NPC) from the N800 billion allocation approved by the Federal Government. This significant decision emerged following the adoption of a motion presented by Mr. Dominic Okafor, who represents Aguta Federal Constituency in Anambra State.
The motion, titled “Need to investigate the expenditure on the postponed 2023 Population and Housing Census by the National Population Commission and Conduct of the National Population/Housing Census,” underscores the House’s commitment to scrutinizing the financial aspects of this critical national undertaking.
Originally slated for May 3-7, 2023, the 2023 Population and Housing Census was indefinitely postponed during the tenure of former President Muhammadu Buhari. During the debate on the motion, Okafor highlighted a critical concern: despite the postponement, the NPC had reportedly disclosed that it had expended a staggering N200 billion out of the N800 billion budgeted for the planning and execution of the census.
Okafor underscored the significance of this financial outlay, stating that the funds allocated to the postponed census could have been channeled toward initiatives aimed at enhancing the lives of many Nigerians and facilitating the equitable distribution of essential aid across the nation.
In his address, Okafor called upon President Bola Tinubu to set a definitive date for the conduct of the census, emphasizing that the failure to do so would jeopardize the data already gathered for the population census.
Echoing his support for the motion to probe NPC’s expenditure, Usman Jaha, the legislator representing Damboa/Gwoza/Chibok Federal Constituency, underscored the challenging security situation prevalent in the North-East, North-West, North-Central, and various other regions of the country. Jaha asserted that these security concerns had impeded the feasibility of conducting a population census in the current climate.
In their resolution, the House decided to forego the appeal for the President to designate a specific date for the census and instead opted to initiate an investigation into the financial disbursement related to the postponed census. To oversee this investigative process, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Abbas Tajudeen, referred the motion to the Committee on Population, which will provide the necessary guidance and recommendations in the coming stages of this inquiry.