The Nigeria Council of State, yesterday, met in Abuja and approved the conduct of a fresh National Census Exercise in April 2023, about sixteen years after the last population exercise which was held in August 2006.
The council, which directed that the exercise takes place immediately after the general elections in February, also approved pardon for 159 inmates.
In furtherance of the approval, the National Population Commission, NPC, the body invested with the mandate of conducting the census, said it would conduct pilot census in June, after political parties’ primary elections.
The Nigeria Council of State is a constitutional body presided over by the President of Nigeria, and comprising former presidents/heads of state, serving and former Chief Justices of Nigeria, President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, state governors, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, and the FCT minister.
In attendance at yesterday’s meeting of the Council were Generals (retd.) Yakubu Gowon and Abdulsalam Abubakar, as well as former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida attended virtually, while the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, were absent due to engagements in the National Assembly.
Briefing journalists at the end of the meeting, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, said, besides the national population exercise, the council approved 159 of 162 applications presented for consideration for prerogative of mercy for convicts and inmates in correctional centres.
He explained that one of the three persons rejected was sentenced to 120 years over stealing and had only served five months in prison.