The population of Africa’s most populous country Nigeria population has hit about 190 million, a figure which negates the one earlier given by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Head of the National Population Commission (NPC) Ghaji Ismail told a press conference on Tuesday in Abuja that it arrived at the latest figure based on available data.
In April, the UNFPA said Nigeria’s population had reached 201 million.
Ismail said, however, that the figure by the UNFPA was “based on assumptions.”
“You have to use models to arrive at the figures you are projecting. The margin of error is very small,” the official noted.
The NPC was established by the government to maintain machinery for continuous and universal registration of births and deaths throughout the country.
It also provides data on the population for the purpose of facilitating economic and development planning.
Ismail said it was imperative to conduct another national population census as soon as possible.
The last national population census conducted was in 2006 and in line with the 10-year global requirement.
Nigeria ought to have held another in 2016.
The population commission chief said steps are being taken to ensure that the national population census is conducted soon, in a bid to have positive implications for national security.
“For the last three to four years, we have been preparing and there is a process which gives us a lot of hope that this will soon be addressed,” he added.
According to data earlier given by the NPC, Nigeria’s population had grown substantially from 17.3 percent in 1967 to 49.4 percent in 2017.
Also, the country’s population has recorded an annual growth rate of 3.2 percent since the last national census in 2006.
The urban population is growing at an average annual rate of about 6.5 percent, the official statistics showed.
Last year, the World Population Prospects predicted that by 2050, Nigeria will become the third most populated country in the world.
By that time, 70 percent of Nigeria’s population will be residing in cities, according to the global survey’s prediction.
Having accurate data about a country’s population is essential in planning, as it would be used for social, economic, political and other needs, noted Eze Duruiheoma, the former head of the NPC, in an earlier statement.
Nigeria is currently the seventh most populous country in the world.