La­gos to ap­peal rul­ing on toll collection

Daily Trust - - NEWS - From Femi Aki­nola, La­gos

The La­gos State At­tor­neyGen­eral and Com­mis­sioner for Jus­tice, Mr. Ade Ipaye, has said the state govern­ment will ap­peal a Federal High Court rul­ing that the state does not have con­sti­tu­tional pow­ers to col­lect toll on the LekkiIkoyi link bridge.

Jus­tice Saidu Saliu of the Federal High Court sit­ting in La­gos, last week, ruled that as far as La­gos State govern­ment is yet to make a law con­trol­ling wa­ter­ways in the state, it can­not col­lect any toll on the wa­ter­ways.

Ipaye said the judg­ment did not specif­i­cally ad­dress many ques­tions raised by the ap­pli­cant, nei­ther did it grant any of the dec­la­ra­tions sought.

“The pro­nounce­ment of the court is ca­pa­ble of be­ing in­ter­preted as court or­ders, hence our de­ci­sion to ap­peal and seek a stay of ex­e­cu­tion im­me­di­ately,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to him, the judge erred when he held that the Nige­rian In­land Wa­ter­ways Author­ity (NIWA)was the only agency au­tho­rised to reg­u­late in­land wa­ter­ways in Nigeria.

The At­tor­ney-Gen­eral said the sec­ond fun­da­men­tal er­ror was the as­sump­tion of the court that the Pri­vate Pub­lic Part­ner­ships (PPP) Law of La­gos State 2011, which was cited in sup­port of toll collection did not ap­ply, sim­ply be­cause the bridge con­struc­tion was not by pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship.

The At­tor­ney-Gen­eral main­tained that con­trary to the court’s as­sump­tion, Sec­tion 29 of the law clearly states that it ap­plies to pub­lic in­fra­struc­ture or pub­lic as­sets.

“Tolls can be col­lected on any pub­lic in­fra­struc­ture ir­re­spec­tive of its con­struc­tion his­tory and the collection was to re­lieve the states Con­sol­i­dated Rev­enue Fund and en­able it to off­set debts in­curred on the con­struc­tion and to keep the bridge prop­erly main­tained,” he said.

A La­gos based lawyer, Mr. Ebun-Olu Adeg­boruwa, had chal­lenged the pro­pri­ety of build­ing and col­lect­ing tolls on the LekkiIkoyi bridge by the La­gos govern­ment.

Adeg­boruwa sued the At­tor­ney-Gen­eral of the Fed­er­a­tion and NIWA, as first and sec­ond re­spon­dents re­spec­tively. Joined in the suit were also the At­tor­ney Gen­eral of La­gos State, Mr. Ade Ipaye, and the La­gos State govern­ment as the third and fourth re­spon­dents re­spec­tively.

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