In the advanced countries, statistics has been a useful tool for the government to choose between different alternative policies, give insight into the relative and even allocation of resources, guide implementation and the evaluation of policy outcomes. Unfortunately, there is lack of adequate consideration for statistics in most developing countries. Advocacy without reliable statistical evidence will lead to policy failure or difficulty. Recently, the issues of handling COVID-19 in Nigeria, a pandemic that is spreading across the world, are strong proof of poor statistical literacy. This is due to the weak base for regional planning and the lack of a credible database for the population of Nigeria. That is, it is difficult to distribute social welfare materials in Nigeria. Likewise, there has also been deterioration in law and order in South Africa as a result of the complete lockdown without due regard for the citizens’ welfare.

The Nigerian Statistical System (NSS) has added value and recognition to statistics by giving it leverage for systemic developments. The legal provision of statistical acts has encouraged professionalism. However, there remain some challenges that pose problems for the goal of NSS. The Nigerian Federal School of Statistics is one of the major institutions established to boost literacy and academic excellence in statistics. The school is a model for the statistics profession.

The donor agencies such as United States Agency for International Development, Department for International Development and United Nations Development Program have made statistics a yardstick for project execution.

The objective of this chapter is to emphasize the importance of statistics as a measure of, and the solution to, the contemporary social-economic problems plaguing developing countries. It is a way to shape public policy needs or implementation that is ignored or misunderstood.