The Minister of Aviation, Chief Hon. Osita Benjamin Chidoka has slammed Nigeria population of 173.6million. The Minister made this known yesterday while delivery a lecture at the University of Nigeria Nsukka during the school's 44th Convocation Lecture titled; Rebuilding the Nigerian Dream: Mapping the Building Blocks. According to him, the figure was estimated as there is no data to prove that Nigeria's population is 173.6million.
In his words "Poor organization and lack of access and transparency means that our population figure of 173.6million is in fact simply an estimate. More accurate records based on birth and death registration at the local government level is essential. There is no way a nation can plan for the future when it does not even know its own population trajectory. Every process of reform requires data so we must move away from estimation and assumption and begin to plan based on facts". However, the Minister blamed the local government areas in the country for the lack of information and accurate data since they are entrusted with the responsibility of birth and death registration.
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"That simple function given to our local government has been so neglected that about 70% of the five million children born annually in Nigeria are not being registered at birth", he noted. "Total federal allocation to local government across the country in 2012 totalled #1.5 trillion, a figure that has been increasing year on year since 2009. However, most local governments dedicate the bulk of their allocation to recurrent expenditures of salaries and administrative cost rather than on capital projects such as eduction, health, public maintenance, and of course record-keeping", he revealed.
"Managing a transparent public institution requires making information readily available. But the amount they often budget for ICT is too small and it accounts for the reason why it is only one local government in this country that has website which is even starving for information" "Neither their annual budget nor any of the services they provide are online. Even the states with the highest GDPs, led by Lagos State, had no information on their local government", he stated.
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