Middle Belt Forum Faults NPC On 2023 Census

Middle Belt Forum (MBF) has faulted the call by the Chairman of National Population Commission (NPC), Nasir Kwarra, on President Bola Tinubu to fix new dates for the 2023 national population and housing census that was suspended by former president Muhammadu Buhari.

The forum noted that it would be unwise to proceed with the suspended exercise when the country is still in a war against those elements tearing the country apart.

In a statement, yesterday, MBF National President, Pogu Bitrus, said the suspension of the exercise by the former administration came on the heels of protests by internally displaced persons (IDPs), mostly in the Middle Belt, that conducting the census with some of them in various IDP camps, would amount to excluding them for the exercise, among other reasons.

Bitrus stated that the group “is completely averse to the position of the NPC when viewed against the current level of insecurity plaguing the country, especially the Middle Belt. We believe for the headcount to be successful and achieve its aims, the security of lives and overall security must be guaranteed.

“No nation ever conducts population and housing census when some territories have been overrun and occupied by dreaded foreign terrorists, with millions of her citizens displaced by vicious and bloodthirsty criminals ravaging the country. We refer specifically to terror attacks on some Middle Bet communities where defenceless and law-abiding citizens have been killed in the last one decade, with no succour coming their way.

“In Southern Borno, for instance, Boko Haram elements have carried out attacks on communities, forcing inhabitants to flee their ancestral land for safety. It is a fact that some of these citizens, who have been traumatised and turned into refugees in their own country and other neighbouring countries, are yet to return to their communities in the last 10 years.

“MBF said in some states like Plateau, Niger, Benue, and Kaduna, communities have been decimated, with thousands of people chased out of their ancestral lands. In clear demonstration of illegalities, these foreign occupiers of these towns have renamed these communities under the watch of security forces.”