IPOB said the upcoming population census exercise could help quantify the population of Biafrans in Nigeria.
The proscribed group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has urged Igbo people residents outside the South-East region to return home and be countered during the 2023 census.
Explaining why it’s important for the Igbo to be counted during this year’s census, IPOB said it would help to ascertain the actual population size of the region and will equally provide an opportunity to prove to the world that Igbos are not really “a dot” in a circle.
This was disclosed by the group’s Director of Media and Publicity, Emma Powerful, in a statement on Wednesday, April 5, 2023.
IPOB’s call comes against the National Population Commission (NPC)’s efforts geared toward ensuring that citizens living away from their states of origin do not need to travel home for the purpose of the exercise.
The NPC had earlier said it had put measures in place to protect the forthcoming population and housing census from any form of manipulation and malpractices, insisting that people would be enumerated at their places of residence.
The commission also ruled out the possibility of public holidays during the exercise, which it said will allow people to move freely from one place to another.
“There won’t be a public holiday, because during public holidays people can move from one place to another, but there may be restrictions on movement, based on past experiences. However, I can’t confirm that now. The government will come out with a categorical statement on that,” the spokesperson for the NPC, Isiaka Yahaya, said in an interview.
But, Powerful said Igbo people who couldn’t travel to the South-East for the exercise should ensure that they’re not counted outside the Biafraland.
The statement read: “The mass return of our people during this forthcoming population census will help us quantify the population of Biafrans in Nigeria. Therefore, we must seize the opportunity the Nigeria Government is offering to our benefit. They have always told the world that we are a dot with an insignificant population.
“Should there be any reason why you can’t travel to Biafra land to be counted, make sure you and your family members are not counted outside Biafra land. We must prove them wrong once and for all.”
“We are calling on all well-meaning Igbo business men and women, entrepreneurs, senators, ministers, commissioners, House of Assembly members from the Eastern states to contribute in one way or the other to ensure that our people come back home during this population census exercise.”