The tribunal ruled that several areas were not enumerated.
The Census Tribunal on Friday in Abuja voided the 2006 enumeration figure for Agege Local Government Area of Lagos State as declared by the National Population Commission (NPC).
The commission had declared the council’s population as 461,743 in the 2006 National Population and Household Census which the council contested at the tribunal.
The complainant alleged that some of its localities were not enumerated, adding that the figure was inaccurate and did not reflect the actual population figure of the area. The council further prayed the court to order the commission to do a recount of the areas, to reflect its true population figure.
Delivering judgment, the Chairman of the Tribunal `C’, Mary Obegolu, voided the figure based on the failure of the respondent to contradict the allegation of non-enumeration by the complainant’s witnesses.
The tribunal also held that the respondent failed to tender evidence before it on the enumeration of the areas, adding that majority of the complainant’s witnesses testified that they were not counted.
Mrs. Obegolu held that having admitted that there was enumeration in the alleged areas, the respondent did not give material evidence in that regard.
“The respondent did not go beyond the general rebuttal to disprove the fact that the areas contested were enumerated. The Tribunal, being a fact finding one, does not rely on presumption in dealing with cases, but fact with the evidence before it through the testimonies of the complainant witnesses,” she said.
She said the tribunal is convinced that the areas were not enumerated.
“The burden of proof now shifted to the respondent who failed to back up its defence with facts or claims of non-enumeration.
“The respondent has failed to discharge the burden of proving its case on preponderance of evidence,’’ Obegolu said. The tribunal therefore declares that the population figure of 461,743 declared by the respondent was faulty, inaccurate and unsustainable.
“The tribunal also orders for a recount of Oka village, Iju, Oke, Orile, Agege, Dopumu, Kpakpa Ashafa, Ishaga and Oko-oba, to reflect the correct population of the area.
“We, therefore, declare the figure as null and void,’’ Mrs. Obegolu said.
Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria Correspondent (NAN) shortly after the judgment, Akinosun Dapo, complainant’s counsel, described the judgment as “victory of truth for Lagos State”.
Dapo, who reaffirmed that there were serious errors in the conduct of the census, said the anomalies were not deliberate.
According to him, the court was able to restore the truth, adding that the initial figure declared for the entire state was 9,113,605 against its population figure of more than 18 million.
The Lagos State Government had, immediately the census figures was announced, rejected the result saying the state’s population was far more than the 9 million enumerated.
“The judgment has showed that the state suffered a lot during the census due to mistakes in the enumeration exercise which were not deliberate.
“We thank God that the court has restored and seen the truth and we are hopeful that the commission will do the right thing quickly to reflect the actual population of the entire state,” Mr. Dapo said.