Lagos to appeal ruling on toll collection
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.