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History of Population Census in Nigeria


The National Population Commission had a long history spanning over four decades. The nucleus of the agency was the National Census Board which conducted the 1973 Census and headed by the late Justice Adetokunbo Ademola. It was an ad-hoc body and became the National Population Bureau after the exercise.

However, the Commission had existed in its present form as a permanent and autonomous body with constitutional power since 1981 when the late Alhaji Abdulrahman Okene was inaugurated as Chairman with members drawn from 19 states of the federation by former President Shehu Shagari. The Commission never conducted a census.

Following the military takeover of 31st December 1983 and the suspension of the 1979 Constitution, the Commission was dissolved and it reverted to National Population Bureau headed by a director.

Consequently, in 1989, the present Commission was re-established as an independent and autonomous body led by Alhaji Shehu Musa, CFR and the Commission conducted its first census in 1991. The establishment of the Commission was further reinforced in accordance with section 153 (J) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as one of the Federal Executive Bodies. Thereafter, the Commission under the chairmanship of Chief Samu’ila Danko Makama conducted another but first Population and Housing Census in 2006.

The Commission has repositioned itself under the current leadership of Hon. Nasir Isa Kwarra to deliver the first digital Population and Housing Census in Nigeria later this year. The present Commission is made up of a chairman and 37 members, drawn one from each State and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. It has offices in the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja as well as in the 774 LGAs of Nigeria.