Nigeria sets date for first census in 17 years

ABUJA, Jan 21 (Reuters) – Nigeria will begin its first national census in 17 years at the end of March as authorities in Africa’s most populous country seek updated data on the precise population and size of various ethnic groups, an official said late on Friday.

The estimated population of Nigeria is more than 200 million and the United Nations expects it to double by 2050. This would make Nigeria the third most populous country in the world, overtaking the United States.

Census figures in Nigeria affect the division of oil revenues and political representation among the 36 states and 300 ethnic groups. Earlier censuses were discredited after disputes between the three main groups, the Fulani, Yoruba and Igbo.

Nasir Isah Kwarra, chairman of the National Population Commission, told reporters that the census will be conducted from March 29 to April 2, more than a month after Nigerians went to the polls to vote for a new president.

Nigeria originally scheduled the census for 2021, but authorities have postponed the process due to widespread insecurity, particularly in the north, where an Islamist insurgency and kidnappings for ransom were raging.

Reporting by Felix Onuah Writing by MacDonald Dzirutwe Editing by Helen Popper

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