The Light Foundation engages stakeholders on the 2021 population and Housing census in Accra

As part of the advocacy campaign by The Light Foundation to sensitize Ghanaians on important national issues, the foundation has engaged stakeholders from various parts of the Muslim communities on the 2021 population and Housing census in Accra.

The Chief Executive Officer for the Zongo Development Fund, Dr Arafat Sulemana Abdulai in an address advised Muslims in the Zongo communities to participate fully in the exercise in order to support the government in it’s development drive.

He said the allocation of national resources to localities in a country is dependent on the population of the area and so it is important for Muslims to appreciate the need for them to be counted in order not to be deprived of any benefits they are entitled to to to as citizens.

He added “We are therefore prepared to collaborate with other stakeholders to embark on education campaigns especially the Zongo communities for them to understand the need for such an exercise and its importance to our development as a people. For us, it will help us to even know the accurate number of people living in the Zongo’s to assist us plan towards our projects in these communities”.

A national trainer of the 2021 population and housing census, Dr Nasiba Suala Tahiru on her part said as a national exercise that will be used for decision making by the Government and other relevant agencies for the socio-economic development of the country, Moslem communities should participate actively in order to help the state ascertain the accurate population of Ghanaians.

She also indicated that enumerators for the census have been trained to perform their task responsibly as expected and so any foreseeable challenge has been addressed by officials of the programme.

She mentioned that all other concerns expressed by sections of the public especially in relation to citizenship would be addressed as the enumerators have been trained in that regard.

She said “the 1992 constitution clearly states who a Ghanaian is and so people should desist from using their own judgement in describing who is a Ghanaian and not a Ghanaian. We have therefore trained our enumerators on their role in this exercise, not to use the names of people and other factors to determine their identity as Ghanaians but should go by the training they have been provided”. She stated

Though people have expressed misgivings about the exercise, Dr Nasiba assured Ghanaians of ‘accurate and complete coverage’.

The national Chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu on his part appealed to the government to make a Muslim part of the council leading the charge for executing the census. He commended the Ghana statistical service for plans put in place for people to be counted despite the challenges that are usually associated with such exercises.

He also appealed to the leadership of the Muslim community to sensitize all Muslim on the importance of the exercise in their lives as Ghanaians.

The spokesperson for the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Aremeyaw Shaibu, indicated that apart from the census data that will be used for decision making by Government, Muslims should endeavour to be part of the exercise to help identify the percentage of Muslims in Ghana.

He said ”People have problems with various data from the population census in the year 2000 and 2010 in respect to the percentage of Muslims but if we fail to participate in the exercise how do we reject these figures, so I will encourage all stakeholders here to sensitize every member of their community to participate fully.

A senior lecturer of the University of Ghana, Dr Haruna Zagoon Sayeed reiterated the need for moslems to avail themselves to be counted to be able to help each citizen benefit equally from the national resources.

Touching on the statistics from past census, he said that the population and housing census in 2000 recorded that moslems consisted of about 15 per cent of the Ghanaian population while in 2010, the figure rose to 17.6 per cent with only 6 per cent increase which people disputed considering the ten years gap and the percentage increase.

He noted that research suggested most moslems failed to participate in the exercise for various reasons hence the poor representation of the percentage of Muslims.

He, therefore, appealed to Muslims to desist from giving excuses and participate fully in the exercise.

Dr Sayeed also commended the Light foundation for engaging stakeholders to discuss an important national exercise with the leadership of the Moslem community.

The CEO of The Light Foundation, Sheikh Abubakar Ali Napari said the objective of the engagement was to provide a platform for stakeholders to ask questions on the upcoming census, become abreast of the issues pertaining to the exercise and sensitize their respective Moslem communities on the need for them to participate in the exercise.

He appealed to all stakeholders to use all their social gatherings as an opportunity to inform and educate fellow Muslims on the importance of the exercise.

The various chief Imam’s from the various communities pledged to continue the advocacy in their respective communities.

The Light Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation aimed at supporting the vulnerable and needy in society to achieve their maximum potential.

To this end, TLF has for over a decade embarked on various programmes to empower women and children with skills training, provision of safe drinking water in various parts of the country and supported communities with educational facilities such as school buildings, providing support to brilliant and needy children, adult education among others.

The Light Foundation has also noted for its immense contribution towards providing education on the global crises on COVID- 19 through its virtual advocacy platform and various support to the needy during the three weeks locked down in Ghana.

The stakeholder engagement brought together Imams from the various Islamic sects: Allul sunna, Shia Imam Ahmadiyya and other government dignitaries.

The 2021 population and Housing census will begin on 27th June and end on the 11th of July 2021.

By: Ebenezer Kofi Amponsah

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