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Council of State okays April 2023 for census, pardons 159 convicts

The Council of State on Thursday resolved that the national population census would hold in April 2023. The chairman of the National Population Commission, Nasir…

The Council of State on Thursday resolved that the national population census would hold in April 2023.

The chairman of the National Population Commission, Nasir Kwarra, disclosed this after a meeting held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said the pilot census would be conducted in June this year immediately after the political parties had completed their primary elections.

He noted that through census, the data used for policy making, planning and development by the three tiers of government and the private sector are generated.

“So, census data is very crucial, very important. Because the data we’ve been using are just projections, estimation. And are sort of obsolete, we need the actual census data to use for our planning,” he said.

NPC spokesman, Isiaka Yahaya, later told Daily Trust that the commission had, over the years, commenced preparations with the enumeration area demarcation of the 772 local government areas.

He said discussions were ongoing with the Kaduna and Borno states on what should be done to ensure safe demarcation in the states.

He said the cost of conducting the census had been worked out and that the figure would be released at the appropriate time.

Jigawa State Governor, Abubakar Badaru, who also briefed reporters on the Council of State meeting, said President Muhammadu Buhari would meet service chiefs on Tuesday to discuss the suggestions from governors and other stakeholders at the Council of State meeting.

He said Buhari promised to look at the proposals from the South East governors and Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State.

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, said 159 convicted Nigerians were granted pardon based on the recommendations of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy.

He said the requests of three convicts were rejected in order not to condone malfeasance.

He said one of the three people whose requests were turned down was sentenced for 120 years over stealing and had only served for five months in prison.

Malami said the name of the convict was submitted as a result of ill health because of life threatening ailment, but the council rejected his inclusion for pardon because of the gravity of the offence.

Although he didn’t mention the name, a source close to the meeting said it was Francis Atuche, a former Managing Director of Bank PHB.

The AGF said another convict whose inclusion for presidential pardon was rejected was convicted for offence of forgery and sentenced to 14 years imprisonment and had only spent one year and six months.

Malami said the third convict was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment for obtaining money by false pretence.

The Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, George Akume, said 434 Nigerians who distinguished themselves in various fields of endeavours had been shortlisted for National Honours Award.

A minute silence was observed in honour of the former head of Interim government Ernest Shonekan who died on January 11, 2022.

The Council of State meeting, chaired by President Buhari, was attended by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno; the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibarahim Gambari.

Former Heads of State Generals Yakubu Gowon and Abdusalami Abubakar (rtd) and ex-President Goodluck Jonathan were also present.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Gen. Ibrahim Babangida participated virtually.

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