Mr Silas Agara, Federal Commissioner for Nasarawa State at the National Population Commission (NPC), has assured that the country will not fail in the introduction of digital or paperless census for the first time in 2023.
He gave the assurance in an interview with newsmen on Thursday in Karu Local Government area of the state during an inspection tour of training venues for ad hoc staff of the commission.
The staff are employed to carry out a mock census in July, preparatory to the original national census slated for 2023.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Nigeria is scheduled to hold a national population census in 2023 but unlike previous census counts, the 2023 edition is expected to be fully digital, without the use of papers.
It iwill also conduct a mock exercise in July, to be fully prepared and correct mistakes that will arise in the mock census before the actual first paperless census in 2023.
“The paperless census is the first of it’s kind in the country and we intend to get it right.
“That is why we programme ourselves to go out on trial census to look at the challenges that will crop up in the course of the trial census and those challenges will be addressed in the main census head count that will come up in 2023,” Agara said.
He said the on going training of the staff in selected local government areas in the six geo political zones of the country was aimed at adequately preparing them with knowledge and know how on how a population census will be conducted, especially a paperless one.
He assured that Nigerians had nothing to worry about as the commission had made necessary steps, logistics and digital equipment to ensure that the digital or paperless census, which he admitted had already been domesticated in other african countries, succeeded.
“That is why we are conducting this training for about 5199 ad hoc staff, to impact on them knowledge that will be useful in making this first digital or paperless census a success.
“We are carrying out this training in one local government area in every geo political zone in the country. So in North Central, we picked Karu Local Government area to carry out the training.
“The size of Karu and the population density and some other attributes have contributed in informing the choice of Karu as the preferred local government in the North Central geopolitical zone,” he said.
He added that staff of the commission have also been through series of trainings to upgrade their knowledge from paper census to the paperless one which will be pivotal in ensuring the success of the process.
“I am quite sure we will get it right because of the trainings we have carried out.
“Our staff have gone through lots of trainings within and out of the country. We have been able to engage ad hoc staff at different levels and we have equipped them.
“Now we are training them again. We have the equipment on ground including Personal Digital Assistant systems for them to use during the field work.
“I have seen the trainees in class and met some of them on the field and I can tell you that we have competent hands that can address any issue that may arise during the exercise,” he said.
Agara said the training, which began on June 26, will last for 12 days with 5,199 staff and their facilitators in attendance at various centres in Karu, Karshi, Uke and Panda communities, all in the local government area.