Symbol of justice
The Census Tribunal Thursday invalidated the 2006 enumeration figures in 43 areas in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, as declared by the National Population Commission (NPC), and ordered a recount in the affected areas.
The Census Tribunal ‘A’ Chairman, Mr. Abraham Yisa, who gave the order while delivering judgment, said the order was based on the failure of the NPC to disprove claims of non-enumeration in the areas by the complainant.
The areas, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), are Obeleli, Azezebiri, Aguobiri, Lobia, Tamazo, Azuzuama, Ezetu I and II, Ogboinbiri, Amassoma, Otuan, Oporoma, Ologbobiri, Korokorosei, Ekowe, Peremabiri, Diebu, Kuluama, Opuama, Ofonibiri, Enewari and Gbarain.
Others are Ukparatubu, Okigbene, Bolou-Aguobiri, Agidigbene, Luduon, Kaiyanbiri, Foropa, Ekeni, Ikibiri II, Tebidaba, Opuaduno, Oweibogbene, Bekeregbene, Bazighagbene, Agoligbene, Odogugbene, Apatamigbene, Okpotuwari, Zion Kiri, Numagbene and Ologboboro.
The council had earlier contested the population figure of 321,808 declared for it in the 2006 National Population and Household Census.
It held that the enumerators failed to give adequate coverage to the council blaming the lapses on logistic factors and personnel.
It also held that most of the areas were omitted from the commission’s Enumeration Area (EA) map and prayed the tribunal to declare the figure null and void and order for fresh enumeration.
Yisa held that the entirety of the respondent’s argument did not address the unresolved issues regarding non-enumeration and inclusion of the areas in its EA map.
He said instead, the respondent based its arguments on failure of the complainant to specify the enumeration materials that were not sufficient during the exercise.
According to him, pleadings are not required in evidence but a concise statement of facts in issue.
Yisa said: “The tribunal draws inference that the census figure released by the respondent is not a true reflection of the population of the Southern Ijaw local government area.
“It is therefore convinced that on a balance of probabilities the complainant has made out a case against the respondent.
“Therefore, by the power vested in the tribunal by virtue of paragraph 25 of the Third Schedule made in pursuant to Section 28 of the NPC Act, it holds that the complaint succeeds and orders a recount in the 43 areas in the council.”