The National Population Commission says the population census will not take into consideration the number of adherents of any religion or the number of members of ethnic groups.
It therefore denied including a religious category in the questionnaires being distributed in the first pre-test exercise for the next population and housing census in the country.
The Director, Public Affairs of the NPC, Udi Joseph, said this in a statement on Wednesday while reacting to viral Whatsapp messages claiming that the NPC had made two separate categories for Muslims and one category for Christians in its questionnaire.
In a statement titled, ‘NPC Refutes Fake News on Religion in Census Questionnaires,’ the organisation said even in previous population census exercises, religion and ethnicity were not considered.
The statement reads in part, “The commission has been very receptive to the sensibilities of Nigerians who have argued that the two issues should not be part of the questionnaires till such a time when the primary and fundamental purpose of census taking, namely, to gather data for planning for sustainable national development should be effectively etched in our lives,” it said.
The NPC added that it would continue to be sensitive to the mood of the nation in designing instruments for census in order to make the otherwise data-gathering activity for planning less contentious.