By Olasunkanmi Akoni
THE Lagos State Government has formally petitioned the National Census Tribunal contesting the figure of 9,113,605 declared by the National Population Commission (NPC) as the population of Lagos.
The state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Olasupo Shasore (SAN), in a statement yesterday, contended that the census result for the state
as a whole is unsustainable, stressing that the exercise was not properly conducted in the state.
Describing the figure as inaccurate and unsustainable, the government, which hinged its conclusions on the result of â€œrigorous and in depth analysis of the
entire census exercise at the stateâ€™s Ministry of Science and Technology,â€ said many residents in at least 19 of the 57 Local Government and Local Council
Development areas were not counted.
According to the government, â€œthe figures declared were unlikely to be correct having regards to the available data and statistics,â€ adding that known demographic indicators such as immunisation statistics, schools attendance population, birth rate and projection and housing identity all show empirically that the population of Lagos State is much more than ascribed to it by the NPC.
Other indicators relied upon to back the challenge, the Government said, include social and economic factors inclusive of high industrialisation, rapid urbanisation and improved standard of living in the state as well as such other demographic parameter as high immigration into the state, average household size and population growth rates as certified by international organisations and agencies such as WHO, UNESCO, UNFPA among others.
Copies of the schools attendance for 2007 in both public and private primary and secondary schools, as collated by APPSERV Applied Services Limited, a private Consultant company contracted by the Government in 2005 and the stateâ€™s immunisation figures for 2003 â€“ 2006 and 2007 â€“ 2009 were also attached to back the petition.
The government said upon receipt of the figures declared by the NPC, the state Ministry of Justice, spear-headed by the Attorney-General, immediately went into a detailed study and preparation spanning a period of five months to challenge the veracity of the declared figure.
â€œIt is against this backdrop that affected Local Government Areas, through their respective chairmen and traditional rulers and other community leaders, who had also been inundated with complaints by residents within their communities relating to the failure and/or improper conduct of the census exercise in their communities within the State filed petitions before the Census Tribunal Zone C, Abuja on the 4th of June 2009â€, the Government said.
It said the petition filed by the 19 LGAs/LCDAs against the NPC as the body established by law to undertake enumeration, the NPC chairman who declared the results complained of and the Attorney General of the Federation as the chief Law Officer of the country asks for an order to declare the results declared by NPC void, an order to compel the NPC to release Post Enumeration Survey (PES) with regards to the respective Local Government Areas and the State as well as an order for a recount.
One of the grounds on which the petitions filed challenges the declared results, the Government said, is that the respondents did not create adequate enumeration areas and/or make provision for adequate enumeration in the Enumeration Areas (EAs) created commensurate with the population density of many areas within the State.