By Olasunkanmi akoni
•Orders fresh census in 14 councils
The National Census Tribunal sitting in Abuja, has nullified the results of the 2006 National Census in 14 local governments in Lagos State, citing illegal and inaccurate counting as reason. The nullification came several years after the exercise was concluded.
Therefore, the tribunal ordered a fresh headcount in the constitutionally created local governments, which according to the Lagos State Government, cut across 40 Local Council Development Areas LCDAs in the state.
The State’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeola Ipaye and his Works and Infrastructure counterpart, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, disclosed this yesterday, at a news conference at the State Secretariat, Alausa.
The AG, stressed that the tribunal also dismissed petitions filed on behalf of residents in five local governments, which he said, were Shomolu, Ikorodu, Kosofe, Mushin and Oshodi-Isolo. Ipaye explained that the petitions of the five local governments were rejected on the ground that the petitioners (the five local governments) did not present sufficient proof to establish their requests.
“Since the tribunal had ordered the National Population Commission (NPC) to recount the residents in the 14 local councils, the commission should immediately put machinery in motion to do the recount, because the 2006 census was illegal and did not give the accurate census figures of the State.”
He added that the official national census results for 14 local governments (now 40 LGAs and LCDAs) in the State “have been nullified. This vindicates the resolve of the state government to base its physical and economic plans on a projected population of 17,553,924 in 2006 and over 21,000,000 currently. We now expect that the population commission will urgently announce plans for a recount as ordered by the tribunal.”
Ipaye said with the census exercise conducted by the NPC nationwide from March 21 to 27, 2006, and more particularly in the various local government areas of Lagos State, which gave the state a figure of 9,113,605, many informed commentators within and outside the state had considered this figure to be far too low.
He said a shadow survey “carried out by State officials during the exercise showed that Lagos State should have had a population of at least 17,553,924. A good number of residents from various communities within the state protested and, eventually, had petitions filed on their behalf when the Census Tribunal was established.”
He added that the 2006 Census was conducted on the basis of 20 Local Government Areas as listed in the 1999 Constitution, saying that out of these, massive complaints came out of 19 Local Government Areas, such as Agege, Alimosho, Amuwo-Odofin, Apapa, Bagadry, Epe, Eti-Osa, Ifelodun, Ifako-Ijaiye, Ikeja, Ikorodu, Kosofe, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, Mushin, Ojo, Oshodi/Isolo, Shomolu and Surulere.
“19 separate petitions were therefore filed on behalf of aggrieved residents of these Councils at the Census Tribunal. The Tribunal sat for about 18 months and has finally passed judgments in all 19 cases between 19 and 20 June, 2013.
“In 14 of these cases, which cover at least 40 of the new Local Government Councils and Local Council Development Areas, the Census results were closely considered and declared null and void,” Ipaye explained
He said the Tribunal, however, dismissed petitions filed on behalf of residents in five Local Government Councils, such as Shomolu, Ikorodu, Kosofe, Mushin and Oshodi-Isolo on the ground that sufficient proof was not presented by the petitioners.
He said government might decide to appeal the upholding of the census figures in the five Local governments after thoroughly studying the judgment of the Tribunal.
“As indicated in the decision of the tribunal, the recount was reordered in Amuwo-Odofin, Agege, Ojo, Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Ikeja, Eti-Osa, Alimosho, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, Surulere, Epe, Badagry and Epe local government areas”.