Nigerian Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, announced in the capital, Lagos, on Wednesday (May 8) that the national census carried out last November put Nigeria's population at 79,758,969.
Nigerian Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, announced in the capital, Lagos, on Wednesday (May 8) that the national census carried out last November put Nigeria's population at 79,758,969. But he stressed that this figure was still provisional and would not be made the basis of any planning decisions until it has been checked.
The figures shows an increase of about 24 million over the 1963 census - an increase of 43 percent.
The population count is a key item in the army leader's nine-point programme before a return to civilian rule in 1976. Since it will determine the distribution of State and Federal parliamentary seats as well as the allocation of federal financial aid, it is a sensitive political issue.
The first census -- in May 1962 -- was nullified after bitter political argument and then followed by a fresh count in 1963 which put the population at nearly 56 million.
The new provisional figure was broken down under the heading of the country's twelve states. It still has to be checked by a panel of experts.
General Gowon announced the figure over Nigerian Radio.
The National Census Board has set up a committee of experts to conduct the post enumeration tests, checks and surveys, the results of which are required for arriving at final and reliable figures. It is expected that the result of the committee's work will be ready in time for the final figures to be published before the end of this calendar year. Therefore, these figures are very provisional but I am releasing them now to avoid unnecessary delay and speculations invariably associated with such delays.
In accepting the preliminary figures for the time being the Supreme Military Council decided that they should not be used for planning purposes. The Council approved their release for public information only, provided only that the general public should appreciate their provisional nature.