New Telegraph

December 1, 2023

Impact of ICT on population sustenance

Fred Nwaozor Pedestal

P opulation indisputably remains the most integral part of the anticipated developmental stride of any existing society. It is so, because, it’s one of the major factors that determine the society’s net worth. July 11 annually, the global community celebrates the World Population Day. This signifies that next week, the 2022 edition of the lofty event would be commemorated across the globe.

However, as we take into cognizance the inevitable impact of population on societal uplift, it’s noteworthy that is only human population that bears such idiosyncrasy. It suffices to assert that the population of other forms of organisms is relatively inconsequential, economic wise, compared to that of the humankind. Two prime factors – natural and human resources – determine the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of every nation.

It’s pertinent to acknowledge that the aforementioned recipes are interwoven. Natural resources obviously require human resources before it could be harnessed; thus, without the latter, the former would remain crude or useless. Similarly, mankind unavoidably requires the natural resources for life’s sustenance.

Little wonder discerning leaders fiercely safeguard and sustain these resources. A country’s resources can only be aptly managed by ensuring effective and efficient sustenance of its human population. Towards a holistic sustenance of a given population, it’s imperative to note the rudimentary factors that affect population growth, which are: birthrate, death rate, and migration. Having carried out the census of a country’s population, there’s need to checkmate the above factors in order to subsequently boast of a robust and reliable database.

The factual point is that, a reliable population record cannot be sustained without involving Information and Communications Technology (ICT). Ranging from census to update, each of the exercises involved requires proper utilization of IT for laudable functionality. Owing to the overwhelming impact of IT on every activity pertaining to population management, it’s high time the National Population Commission (NPC) started deploying its use in the agency’s day-to-day obligations It’s appalling that the NPC cannot even boast of a reliable database as regards Nigeria’s population, let alone sustaining it.

The authority needs to comprehend that the country requires a standard population record with a view to boosting its socio-economic status, and such can never be obtained without a substantive database. Among all, a database cannot currently be considered viable if IT isn’t utilized. In other words, the concerned quarters are expected to embrace the said tool wholeheartedly, considering that it is the only way forward. In view of the above assertion, our pattern of population census must be reviewed in earnest.

Hence, as the country prepares for the next population census come 2023, I enjoin the NPC to strategize in order to ensure IT is fully inculcated in the overall scheme, so at the end of the national exercise, we as a people can boast of a comprehensive IT-based population database. Prior to the commencement of the said nationwide exercise, the NPC should endeavour to establish an independent IT-oriented department/unit. The unit ought to be entitled to a well-experienced indigenous director. Independent, in the sense that the unit must have all the required resources to avoid intrusion.

Wellexperienced, meaning literally that the prospective personnel must possess a convincing IT expertise. And indigenous, in the sense that he/she must be a fullfledged Nigerian; being indigenous would enable him or her to regularly carryout the national consignment diligently and patriotically.

The unit ought to equally constitute personnel that are knowledgeable enough in the field of ICT. Inter alia, there should be an agency that would oversee or monitor the day-to-day running of the unit toward ensuring efficiency. After conducting the census, there would be need for constant and consistent thorough update of the database, and such needs to be done by the IT unit.

The records need to be updated by subsequently observing the earlier mentioned fundamental factors that affect population. A tactical approach ought to be employed toward ensuring the overall birthrate and death-rate occurring within the country are regularly gathered regardless of the locality where the event took place. Hence, every maternity and mortuary operating across the federation must be duly certified by the NPC, whereby every child delivery or corpse deposition, as the case may be, would be instantly reported to the commission via the respective ICT departments of the said centres.

To this end, in event of home child-delivery, such case needs to be reported to any nearest maternity for onward documentation. Similarly, whenever one dies and his/her corpse isn’t taken to the mortuary, the bereaved family is expected to report such an incident to the closest mortuary. This policy implies that, henceforth, any maternity or mortuary that isn’t recognized or approved by the NPC needs to be shut down indefinitely. Such a monitoring measure would equally require setting up of a mobile committee by the commission that would regularly oversee the existence cum activity of all maternities and mortuaries. Regarding migration, the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) is meant to work hand-in-hand with the NPC. The cooperation would help to invariably update the latter on immigration cum emigration matters. The proposed relationship would be effective and easy by involving IT.

Moreover, the NPC’s IT-department ought to invariably make use of world-class softwares. The softwares must be designed by the department’s staff for privacy sake. The unit is also required to continually possess such classic devices cum personnel as anti-hacking softwares, experts coupled with other sundry entitlements. An all-inclusive statistics of Nigeria’s population can only be properly sustained via the effort of IT and viable policy. Since the country possesses all it takes to make the project feasible, let’s not hesitate in applying the resources. Think about it!

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