Experts suggest way out on waterways
There appears no end in sight to the bickering between the Lagos State Government and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) over the control of waterways.
Since the July 18 Court of Appeal judgment on the controversy over who controlled the waterways, both the state government and NIWA have interpreted the verdict each in its favour.
The Lagos government said by the verdict, it now has exclusive power to regulate waterway transportation including the activities of boat operators and sand dredgers.
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, however said at a recent function that the era of uncontrolled dredging was over with the verdict.
The government moved further on Tuesday by issuing a 7-day ultimatum to boat operators and dredgers to comply with all the rules and guidelines concerning their operations.
The Lagos government is said to be concerned about the huge resources the state is losing from waterways hence its determination to challenge the Federal Government to hands off.
A Federal High Court had in a 2014 judgement struck out the case of Lagos government and declared NIWA as the authority recognized by law to regulate the activities in the waterways. But NIWA called on stakeholders to ignore the Lagos government’s claim, saying it was still in control of waterways in the state. It insists that all bodies of waterways in Lagos State were international, tidal, intra-coastal and or inter-state waterways.
“The Court of Appeal retained the power to regulate international, intra-coastal and interstate waterways in NIWA under Articles 36 and 64 of the exclusive legislative list of the 1999 Constitution (as amended),” says NIWA Managing Director, Boss Mustapha.
As the controversy rages, experts are of the opinion that the two parties should return to the same Appeal Court to seek further and clearer interpretation of the judgment or approach the Apex Court.
A prominent Lagos based lawyer, Barr. Monday Ubani, told Daily Trust that the best way to douse the tension was to approach the court.
Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode