Court Gives NPC Seven Says To Account for Expenses on National Census

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Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday, gave the National Population Commission (NPC) seven days to give an account of expenses related to the suspended 2023 National Population Census.

The judge gave the order in a suit filed by an Abuja-based lawyer, Opatola Victor.

Victor had dragged the NPC to the court following the commission’s failure to provide the details of the money spent on the suspended exercise.

The national census scheduled to be held in 2022 was later postponed to 2023.

Former President Muhammadu Buhari in March last year suspended the exercise indefinitely to allow President Bola Tinubu to announce new dates for the exercise.

The national census will now be held in November.

In June last year, the NPC told the National Assembly it spent N200 billion on its preparation for the conduct of the exercise before it was postponed.

In his ruling, the judge dismissed the NPC’s claim that bureaucracy and the executive chairman’s absence were to blame for withholding the requested records from the plaintiff.

Ekwo also rejected the commission’s argument that certain requested information was classified.

He said: “The refusal of the Commission to provide the plaintiff with information on the companies that provided due diligence report on the technology to be deployed for the ill-fated census was a gross violation of the right of the plaintiff as enshrined in Section 4 of the FOI Act.”