The Professional Statistician Society of Nigeria has said the Nigerian government does not pay attention to its professional advice on data.
Speaking at the sixth International Conference of the society held at Yaba College of Technology, titled, ‘Statistics for sustainable development in the post-COVID-19 era,’ president of PSSN, Prof. Ismail Shittu, explained that the government was fond of changing data whenever PSSN presented the authentic state of issues.
He said, ‘‘Without statisticians, there can’t be national development, scientific development, and scientific theories.
‘‘We do not have reliable statistics. The government of the day has not been listening to us. When we tell them this is data, data speaks for itself. Government always wants to change the data, they tamper with data always.
‘‘Our relationship with the National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria is not strong and NBS play on people’s ignorance and they don’t patronise professional statistics. There is a lack of cooperation, we need to come together and tell the truth so we can produce reliable data.’’
The Rector, Yaba College of Technology, Mr Femi Omokungbe, who gave the keynote address, said investment in data was urgently needed, saying it would help to respond to crises or disasters and support Sustainable Development Goal acceleration.
‘‘Financial and technical support for data and statistical systems and innovations are urgently needed for designing the short-term responses and accelerated actions to put countries back on track to achieve economic recovery. Reducing the risk of future disasters and getting closer to achieving sustainable development will require innovation, finance, and collaboration between government and all stakeholders; but all these will not be possible without data. This is where the professional statisticians come in.
The Director-General, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Yaba, Lagos, Prof. Babatunde Salako, added that reliable data to guide evidence-based decisions was of utmost importance.
‘‘As we move forward, the changing contours of the global landscape will increase sharply the demand for higher quality and more comprehensive statistics from both the private and public sectors.’’