The National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno, (retd) has expressed fear that the security challenges in many parts of the country might affect the successful conduct of the 2023 census.
According to him, security personnel on census duty as well as the National Population Commission’s facilities and staff are at risk of being attacked.
He spoke at the inauguration of the 2023 population and housing census national security and logistic committee in Abuja on Tuesday.
The Punch reports that the members of the committee include all service chiefs and heads of paramilitary agencies among others.
Monguno said, “This committee must be conscious of several risk factors that may militate against the successful conduct of the 2023 Census. For instance, the nature of the security threats in our country, arising from banditry, kidnapping, armed conflicts, terrorism, and other violent crime may pose challenges to the census exercise.
“Let us be very realistic. This is a possibility and this could manifest in the form of physical attacks on NPC staff and facilities, attacks on security personnel on census duty, inter/intra-communal violence disrupting preparatory and main census work, attacks targeting NPC databases and ICT architecture, intimidation of members of the public to dissuade them from participating in the process, snatching and destruction of census materials, among others.”
He listed terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, and armed conflicts as the most prominent among other forms of insecurity in the country that posed a threat to the successful conduct of the exercise.
The NSA, however, said with the efforts of the country to make the country safe and with the commitment of members of the committee, the exercise would be successful.
Muguno said, “However, the government has put in serious efforts to make the country safe for everyone. It is expected that with coordinated synergy by this Committee, the safe movement of personnel and materials before, during, and after the census will be guaranteed because we have the confidence that with the calibre of members of this Committee, this national assignment will be carried out successfully.”
The Executive Chairman of the commission, Nasir Kwarra, said it would need the help of the committee to overcome security and logistic challenges.
He said, “The conduct of the 2023 Census has a herculean task in deploying personnel throughout the nook and cranny of the country. Nigeria has a vast land mass with pockets of hard-to-reach areas. With the structure and facilities of members; organization, I am confident that the Committee has all it takes to mitigate the security and logistic challenges of the 2023 census.”