The Census Tribunal “A’’on Tuesday in Abuja invalidated the population figure declared by the National Population Commission (NPC) for Asari-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers.
The commission put the council’s figure at 219,787 in the 2006 National Population and Household Census.
The tribunal invalidated the figure based on failure of the commission to contradict the complainant’s allegation of non-enumeration of 128 areas out of the 868 enumeration areas.
In the judgment read by Mr Abraham Yisa, the chairman, the tribunal held that the figure in the enumeration areas register differed in reality with the figures actually enumerated.
It held that the NPC failed to disclose to the tribunal why the enumeration areas register differ remarkably with the NPC01 questionnaire forms used for several areas.
“The respondent alleged that the names listed by the complainant as omitted may be street, schools and road names, which do not represent enumeration areas names in all circumstance.
“The respondent is a government organ created by law to organise census and it has all the necessary materials that can disprove the complainant’s allegation beyond doubt.
“The respondent by it responses appeared to be in a fencing contest with the complainant as their responses are riddled with evasion in its reply and falsehood.
“It is landmark principle of law that he that comes to equity should come with clean hands but the respondent has failed to do so,’’ it said.
It further held that the respondent was defiance for a recount of Asari-Toru area which was voided in the 1991 census.
Earlier, Asari-Toru council in its submission drew the attention of the tribunal to the 1991 census, adding that the respondent was ordered by the tribunal to conduct a fresh census in the area.
The commission described the submission as irrelevant to the 2006 census, adding that the order was not adhered to.
Yisa said that commission had also failed to address issues raised by the complainant head-on in disproof and on a balance of probabilities and had failed to defend the complaints.
“By the power vested on the Tribunal by Section 28 National Population Commission Act, Cap. N 67, the tribunal declares void the census result of 219,787 published by the National Population Commission for Asari-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State.
“It orders for a recount of the local government area,’’ Yisa