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Press Statement: Postponed 2023 Population and Housing Census


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May 18, 2023
Abuja, Nigeria

For Immediate Release:

President Muhammadu Buhari Postpones 2023 Population and Housing Census

Census is a tool for measuring progress and ensuring that every person counts.
Dr. Matshidiso Moeti
(Regional Director for Africa, World Health Organisation (WHO))


The 2023 Population and Housing Census (PHC) has been postponed, per President Muhammadu Buhari, who did so in response to concerns raised by civil society organisations. In response to these concerns, the President has decided to pause the Census and include the issues in his handover notes to the next administration.

Undersigned Nigerian civil society organisations expressed reservations about the 2023 PHC in a letter to the President, highlighting concerns about insufficient awareness, the use of technology, transparency with funding, and transparency in funding sources.

Concerning insufficient awareness, citizens were aware that a census was planned, but they were unaware of the specifics. Civil society organisations questioned whether declared public holidays would be used to count citizens, what questions they would be asked, and whether schools would be closed.

The National Population Commission (NPC) stated that the 2023 PHC would be Nigeria’s first Digital Census, which would improve data accuracy. However, given the difficulties that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) encountered in deploying technology during elections, civil society organisations believe that further evaluation and testing of technological tools is required.

Transparency with funding was also a key concern, as the NPC’s budget for the exercise was deemed high compared to other countries. The NPC has been requested to publish its expenditure on the PHC 2023 to date, including disbursements to local government areas and states, but no response has been received so far.

Lastly, the civil society organisations called for transparency in sources of funding, highlighting the need for the federal government to publicly communicate how much has been received and from whom.

In light of these concerns, President Muhammadu Buhari has authorised the postponement of the 2023 PHC, and he has pledged to add these concerns to his handover notes for the incoming administration.

The President understands the importance of the census for national planning and development, and he remains committed to ensuring that the exercise is conducted in a transparent, accurate, and inclusive manner.

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

BudgiT ( is a Nigerian civic organisation that applies technology for citizen engagement with institutional improvement to facilitate societal change.

CJID ( formerly known as Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism, is a Nigerian nonprofit organisation dedicated to media innovation, independent media, human rights, anti-corruption, and accountability in West Africa

Enough is Enough Nigeria ( is a network of individuals and organizations committed to instituting a culture of good governance and public accountability in Nigeria through active citizenship. EiE’s #RSVP – Register | Select | Vote | Protect is Nigeria’s longest-runing get-out-the-vote campaign. EiE was an integral part of the #OccupyNigeria movement in 2012; co-leads the #OpenNASS campaign and launched the #OfficeOfTheCitizen campaign to mark its 5th anniversary in 2015. It publishes a collection of essays to mark its decade plus of impact in 2022 – Footprints: Past | Present | Future.

DataPhyte ( is a media research and data analytics organisation deploying data tools and technology for the socio-economic development of Nigeria.

Connected Development ( is a Nigerian not-for-profit founded in 2012, and focused on empowering marginalised communities to demand goods and services by creating platforms for dialogue and building citizens’ capacity to hold their government accountable through its Follow The Money initiative. 

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) ( is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, legal and advocacy organisation committed to promoting human rights, transparency, and accountability in governance, using training, advocacy, research, and strategic litigation

Partnership for Amplified Voices is (PAV) a project of the World Bank that brings CSOs together to work on social issues through support and capacity building.

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