Religion and ethnicity will, for the first time, be included in the parameters used in Nigeria’s 2016 census, officially bringing to the fore the two variables believed to be at the core of disunity in Africa’s most populous country.
"If you don’t describe Nigerians in relation to ethnicity and religion and other parameters, then you are not describing them because we are proud of ethnicity and religion even if that is at a low level," Festus Odimegwu, the chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC), told reporters.
Nigeria last had a population census in 2006, putting the population at 140 million, a figure now being discredited even by Odimegwu, a leading businessman with notoriety for having worked with former president Olusegun Obasanjo to manipulate the constitution to give the latter a third term.
The decision to include religion and ethnicity is the first in Nigeria’s 53 years of political independence as previous population counts avoided the two sensitive issues, which many fear could worsen ethno-religious profiling.
All classifications of Nigerians along ethno-religious lines were not done by the government but by agencies gathering independent data.
The country is currently gripped by anger and debate over the decision of the government in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, to "deport" some persons of Igbo origin to their native Anambra State, unwittingly provoking tribal sentiments nationwide.
Igbo is one of Nigeria’s three major tribes.
The other two are Yoruba, in Southwest, and Hausa-Fulani in the North.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, has up to 250 ethnic groupings and languages.
Muslims reportedly make up half the population of Nigeria and are concentrated in the north, while Christians constitute the majority in the south.
Good for Planning
Odimegwu said the decision to include religion and ethnicity in the census will help government to better plan.
"You need those data to plan for building mosque, churches, cathedrals, planning pilgrimages, planning nomadic education and if you don’t have those data you can never plan those things well," he maintained.
"These things will be sources of stealing money, they will put a wrong figure there, and when you put money they will embezzle it."
Odimegwu said such data would be good for business.
"If you are going to market border with something with pork and you don’t make a jurisdiction of Muslims in the 200,000 localities, you will commit a marketing blunder to go and launch it where Muslims are and maybe they eat it by mistake without knowing that there is pork," he noted.
"When they find out it is pork, do you know what they are going to do? They will quarrel with your company but if you have the data, you don’t go where there are high Muslim populations, you go where there are high Christian populations so they can have their pork and you can develop a new product for this."
The decision by PEN American Center to give its annual Freedom of Expression Courage award to the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo has prompted six writers to withdraw as literary hosts at the group’s annual gala on May 5
Gunman wounds two others in attack on station before being shot dead
Maryland governor declares state of emergency and activates National Guards to help quell Baltimore riots
Some 50 members of the Night Wolves plan to ride from Moscow to Berlin to mark Soviet forces' victory over Nazi Germany in the climactic Battle of Berlin.
Moghla said he had lost 600kg of his honey inventory – as well as honey-extracting equipment – when Israeli forces bombed his home during 51 days of intense Israeli bombardment in 2014
Slovak prime minister Robert Fico, confirms that he will be at the World War II celebration in Moscow.
They are suspected of smuggling 200 migrants from Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan into EU.
Israel prohibits construction of cement and/or iron structures in the strategic Jordan Valley region, an agriculturally-rich area that runs along the Jordanian border.
The minister noted that, as of April 23, meningitis had caused 129 deaths out of 1,150 cases recorded since December of last year.
Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz said that Merkel agreed with her that sanctions, which have been already imposed on Russia, should be maintained.
Most of Kazakh Presidents' vocal opponents have either been jailed or have fled abroad - there were only two contenders were a low-profile Communist Party member and a loyal former regional governor.
The next round of Syria talks aim to find a political solution to the conflict, now in its fifth year, which killed more than 220,000 people and forced almost 4 million to flee the country.
The training will involve Ugandans starting from senior-six secondary level
The bill would authorize $286 million to David’s Sling system, a joint project between the United States and Israel. Once operational, David’s Sling will be used to defend against medium and long range rockets and missiles
Mohamed al-Najjar, 26, was working in a smuggling tunnel on the border between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip when the tunnel collapsed.
Sudanese president Bashir wins 94.5 pct of vote in election