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Controversy over Nigeria’s census figures is nothing new.
Accusations that the country’s official population figures had been rigged date back to the 1950s and have continued unabated under military and civilian regimes.
“There is hardly any terrain which the enumerators can’t reach in Bangladesh,” A. M Nurun Nabi, the country’s top population scientist, who is now vice-chancellor of Begum Rokeya University, said.
Instead, the real cause of controversy in Nigeria has always been the influence of politics and money.
The organisation believes that 2006 census numbers for Lagos of around 9 million were reasonable and that the state’s own estimates are overblown.
Population growth in the city appears to have been slowed in the 1980s by an IMF-inspired structural adjustment programme, with rising unemployment and higher costs of living driving many back to their cheaper towns and villages, and this has affected the figures, it says.
And UN data, which is based on the 2006 census data, also overestimates the population of several Nigerian cities, Africapolis reported.
“There was huge influence from the communities and political class to manipulate the whole processes,” Dr Akinyemi told Africa Check.