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Census-related Violence Kills Six People In Nigeria

Police in Nigeria say census-related violence has resulted in the deaths of six people. Clashes took place yesterday in the southern town of Nnewi between police and a Biafran separatist group authorities say is trying to disrupt the ongoing census. Violence was also reported in nearby Onitsha, where suspected separatists attacked census workers with machetes. The census is Nigeria's first in 15 years and is scheduled to run through Saturday.

Voice of America’s reporter in Abuja, Gilbert Da Costa, says the counting process remains slow on the second day of the census. “This,” he says, “despite assurances by authorities that they would remedy shortfalls encountered on the first day.” He says he experienced the inconvenience himself when census workers failed to show up at his residence today as promised.

Da Costa feels the one million workers assigned to carry out the census are sufficient. He says the problem lies with “a lack of preparation and the poor manner of implementation.” Da Costa says, “Censuses in Nigeria have always been viewed with suspicion.” He adds, “With elections coming up next year, tensions in the country could further undermine the credibility of the whole process.”