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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05LAGOS1433
2005-09-15 17:10:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Consulate Lagos
Cable title:  

NIGERIA: LAGOS TRIAL CENSUS AND DISTRIBUTION OF

Tags:   PGOV  KDEM  NI 
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151710Z Sep 05
						UNCLAS LAGOS 001433 

SIPDIS

PASS TO USTR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: LAGOS TRIAL CENSUS AND DISTRIBUTION OF
NATIONAL ID CARDS


--------------------------------------------- ----------
Trial Census Shows Imperfections in Enumeration Process
--------------------------------------------- ----------



1. (U) A trial census conducted in select local governments
between August 29 and September 2 revealed imperfections in
the GON's national population census process. In Lagos, the
exercise was held during the work week in six local
governments. While the State government did a good job of
getting the word out, residents mostly ignored the exercise
and left home to go to work before the census enumerators
could count them. Enumerators spent hours trying to call
back residents to be counted. Past censuses were scheduled
on weekends and nationwide directives were issued to ensure
that people stayed at home. While some sources in the
Southwest and other areas claimed success, many residents
claimed that enumerators were not present. Septel Abuja
discusses other areas of the country.



--------------------------

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National Identity card: flawed collection system


--------------------------

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2. (U) At the same time, the GON is introducing a national
ID card. Provisions for distribution of the card were
flawed; its use as a population enumeration tool will be
questionable at best. Card collection began in Lagos on
August 15, where citizens were required to collect the cards
at local government offices. Lagos state offices are fewer
than needed and understaffed, and so crowds outside were
generally large and fidgety. To make matters worse, the
Lagos State governor declared that people without the cards
would not be able to access certain social services or
perform certain transactions in the state. Many were
therefore bent on getting their cards right away.



5. (U) A recent scene at the Lagos Mainland local government
office provides a good snapshot of what is happening
throughout southern Nigeria. Two officers sat at a table,
crowded with people, and searched through endless piles of
ID cards. The process was laborious. People shoved and
pushed. The noise level was distractingly high. "Workers
have generally been slow in responding to the call to
collect," admitted one of the local government officials. He
claimed some white-collar workers who went to his Oshodi
local government center either left frustrated or tried to
arrange alternate methods of collection, including group
pick-up for corporations.



6. (U) Comment: In February 2003, when the GON began
registering people for national ID cards, senior officials,
including a Federal Minister, were indicted for tinkering
with the process. If the GON intends to implement useful
procedures for counting its population, it will have to plan
and coordinate efforts much better. Already, mechanisms put
in place to update census data are untested and of dubious
reliability. End comment.

Browne