The Director-General of the National Population Commission (NPC), Ghaji Bello, has said the National Population Census is scheduled for 2018, considering the availability of necessary logistics.
While Nigeria prepares for the 2018 census, which is budgeted at ₦272 billion, UNICEF has warned that as many as 95 million children have not had their births registered across Sub-Saharan Africa, and these figures are likely to increase if no urgent measures are taken.
UNICEF also called for African Nations to prioritise birth registration as a first step to a vital statistics system. These were contained in a data released at the 4th Conference of African Ministers Responsible for Civil Registration.
“Such levels of invisibility cannot persist. The cost is too high. With no proof of identity, proof of age, nor of nationality, an unregistered child is vulnerable to violations such as child marriage, child labour and recruitment to armed forces,” said Leila Pakkala, UNICEF Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa.
Analysis shows that the birth rate registration coverage has not improved across Sub-Saharan Africa over the last 16 years.
According to UNICEF, the rapidly growing child population, coupled with current trends of slow rates of change, means there could be close to 115 million unregistered children in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030, short of the Sustainable Development Goal Target of 16.9 that aims to provide legal identity for all, including birth registration.
“Experiences from several countries on the continent show that coupling health and civil registration services can resolve poor infant registration rates,”
“Countries such as Ghana, Mali, Senegal, Uganda, Namibia, and Ethiopia have almost doubled their new-born registration by simply making the two sectors interoperable,” said Marie-Pierre Poirier, UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa.
In 2015, the birth rate for Nigeria was 39.4 per 1,000 people, falling gradually from 45.9 per 1,000 people in 1966, to 39.4 per 1,000 people in 2015, with a fertility rate of 5.59 births per woman also in 2015.
Nigeria’s population was estimated at 182 million as at 2016, with half of the population under 30 years of age.