What Are the Problems With the Population Census in Nigeria?

Although motivated by a variety of reasons, the primary problem with the population census in Nigeria is records doctoring. Religious bias, remote areas and financial issues are just a few of the reasons behind the alterations.

Nigeria is a country in religious turmoil. Tens of thousands of Nigerians have been killed in the past decade in the name of ethnic and religious cleansing. Because one religious group may have a special interest in claiming power over another through numbers, and because Nigeria's religious population is primarily split between the north and south, there is a longstanding dispute about whether the numbers that reflect a significantly larger population in the north are accurate or simply the result of altered records.

Another reason to believe that records doctoring may be a problem for the Nigerian census is the distribution of wealth versus natural resources. Oil is major money maker for Nigeria. The majority of the country's oil comes from the south of the country, but the north controls most of the money. The fact that a significant portion of the population lives in remote areas is another issue. Quite simply, it is difficult for census workers to reach many of the country's people to record how many of them there are, and because there are no significant records to document births and deaths, it is difficult to verify the information on census forms.