Nigeria again postpones first census in 17 years

Nigeria has postponed a census due to take place next week and a new date will be set by the incoming government, the information ministry said on Saturday as it announced the latest delay to the country’s first census in 17 years.

The census had been scheduled for May 3-7, but the ministry said more time was needed to plan for it. It will now be conducted by the new government of President-elect Bola Tinubu, who will be sworn in at the end of May.

It is the second postponement this year to the census, the results of which affect the sharing of oil revenues and political representation among the 36 states and 300 ethnic groups in Africa’s most populous country.

Previous counts were discredited after disputes among the three main ethnic groups, the Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo.

The National Population Commission has said Nigerians will not be asked about their ethnicity and religion during the census to due to “the sensitive nature of these issues and the need to save the census data from needless controversies and attention.

Nigeria is almost evenly divided between the largely Muslim north and mostly Christian south.

Nigeria’s population is estimated at more than 200 million and the U.N. expects that figure to double by 2050. That would make Nigeria the world’s third most populous country, behind China and India, overtaking the United States.


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