The tribunal agreed with the complainant.
The Census Tribunal on Monday voided the 2006 enumeration figure of Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State declared by the National Population Commission (NPC).
The commission had declared the council’s population figure as 283,791 in the 2006 National Population and Household Census.
The complainant contested the figure before the Census Tribunal `C, alleging that some of its localities were not enumerated. It also alleged that there were irregularities, which it attributed to insufficient enumeration materials, adding that the figure did not reflect the true population of the entire council.
The council prayed the tribunal to order for the recount of the areas not enumerated to forestall the irregularities that occurred during the exercise.
Delivering Judgment, Mary Obegolu, the Tribunal Chairman, voided the figure based on the failure of the respondent to counter the allegation of non-enumeration by the complainants.
Mrs. Obegolu held that the complainant presented 17 witnesses who testified that they were not enumerated. She ruled that there was no material claims before it to buttress the commission’s claims. She said the commission’s witness was not the right people to testify before the tribunal because he did not participate in the actual head count.
According to her, the tribunal, being a fact finding one, does not rely on presumptions in determining cases, but on fact.
She ordered the commission to do a recount in Ribadu Road, Jakande Estate, Obalende among others, to reflect the true population of the areas.
“The complainant has discharged the burden of proof in its case.
“The complainant, having proved their case on preponderance of evidence, the tribunal is satisfied with the evidence given by the 17 witnesses who testified that they were not enumerated.
“It, therefore, holds that the population figure of 283,791 declared by the respondent for the complainant was faulty, unsustainable and inaccurate.
“The tribunal further orders the respondent to do a recount in 17 localities,’’ Mr. Obegolu said.
In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria shortly after the judgment, Olaseinde Karim, the counsel to the complainant, described the judgment as a well considered one.
Mr. Karim lauded the effort of the tribunal in ensuring fair judgment, describing the tribunal as a conscientious one. He said the judgment was devoid of politics, adding that it was the whole essence of setting up the tribunal.
“The whole essence of the Census Tribunal is to deliver judgment devoid of politic, which the tribunal has done.
“When the figures are faulty it means that development will not take place or it will take place in a manner that will not affect the localities the way it should.
“The tribunal has agreed with the testimonies of the 17 witnesses and given judgment that there should be a recount in those localities,’’ Mr. Karim said.
Monday’s ruling on Eti-Osa follows a previous ruling, on Friday, on Agege, another council area in Lagos, where the tribunal also ordered a recount.