Fact-Check: Did the National Population Commission (NPC) Introduce Questions to Identify Muslims-Christians Sects in 2023 Census?
There was a claim that the National Population Commission (NPC) has introduced questions aimed at identifying religious sects of Muslims and Christians in the upcoming 2023 census.
Some post have lately gone viral on social media platforms, notably Facebook and WhatsApp notifying the public that NPC, had in its questionnaire for 2023 census, introduced some questions in order to identify the religious sects of Muslims and Christians faithfuls.
While some Muslims claim that Islam is deliberately divided into ”Sunni, Shia, Tijjaniya and Ahmadiyya” in the proposed questionnaire for the census exercise, some posts by Christian also claim that “Christianity is divided into “Catholic, Pentecostal, Protestants, Deeper Life” among others.
The population of Muslims and Christians in Nigeria has been an old debatable subject among the citizens with each camp believing to be larger in number than the other.
Following the announcement of the 2023 trial census by the National Population Commission (NPC) on June 28, 2022, a lot of unsubstantiated claims were trending in the public space that the commission’s questionnaire had provision to identify sects in the 33-day trial census which would cover about 7,718 enumerated areas across the country.
Some claimed the alleged introduction of sects in the questionnaire was deliberate at targeting a particular religion in order to suppress its followers since according to them “policies are developed based on the population of a particular religious group in the country.”
A check by PRNigeria indicated that the NPC is yet to release any official document where sects were introduced in order to identify religions in the 2023 trial census questionnaire. This was confirmed by the Director, Public Affairs of the Commission, Dr. Isiaka Yahaya during a telephone interview with PRNigeria correspondent.
“The claim that we have introduced sects to identify religions in the 2023 trial census questionnaire is false and untrue.” Yahaya said.
It can be recalled that the commission had earlier issued a rejoinder on July 16, 2022 debunking this rumors. The rejoinder titled: “2023 Census Will Not Canvass Questions On Religions,” stated that, “the message alleged that there are some parts (of the questionnaire) where respondents are required to tick their religion, however, the Islamic religion has been divided into (sects) while Christianity has not, the objective, as alleged, is to show that Muslims “are small in the country.”
“The fabricated message urged Muslims in Nigeria to see the population census as a tool to suppress them and their faith through the reduction of their numerical strength and to resist any attempt to divide the religion of Islam by refusing to answer any question on religion.
“A fact-check on the origin of the purported message shows that it was first circulated in Ghana during its last population census exercise. The circulation of the message a few days into the conduct of the current Trial Census fieldwork nationwide is deliberately timed to sow disaffection among the major religious groups in the country.”
Meanwhile, PRNigeria has obtained and scrutinized the questionnaire developed by the commission for the 2023 trial census but there was no place where religion was mentioned, not to even talk of the Islamic sects as widely claimed.
The claim that National Population Commission introduced questions to Identify Muslims-Christians Sects in 2023 Census is FALSE.
Therefore, based on the available evidences gathered by PRNigeria from authoritative sources, the claim to identify religious sects based on some questions in the upcoming 2023 census by the NPC is NOT TRUE.
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Report By: PRNigeria.com