A Focus group panel discussion in Enugu recently rated Census 2023 awareness very low in the Southeast region.

Although people are generally aware of the forthcoming census, they are not conversant with its processes and timelines, members said.

The group therefore urge the National Population Commission (NPC) to step up its advocacy and publicity programmes.

Former Enugu State Information Commissioner Ogbuagu Anikwe moderated the Focus Group Discussion at Ekulu Green Classic Hotel in the GRA.

NPC and the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) sponsored the rapid results research programme.

Discussions centered on how to invite and sustain people participation and ownership of Nigeria’s Census 2023.

Anikwe told newsmen that the discussion seeks to tease out information on peculiar census challenges and opportunities in the zones.

Report of the discussion will guide NPC’s communications strategists to manage issues around citizen awareness, willingness and motivation to participate.

The Focus Group Discussions took place simultaneously in six zones of the country.

In attendance were representatives of the media, academia, organised private sector, market women, road transport workers, and civil society organisations. Also represented were NGOs and faith-based organisations.

Participants focused in five key areas, namely, level of knowledge and awareness, and willingness to be counted. Others were barriers to counting, motivators, target audiences, and communication channels.

Participants asked leaders and groups in the Southeast to help get everyone counted.

They also advised pastors to invest more on awareness creation in the Southeast for proper reorientation and education with hope-building content.