BY INNOCENT ANABA & ABDULWAHAB ABDULAH
LAGOS—Lagos State Government has filed an appeal asking the appellate court to vacate the judgment of the Federal High Court which barred it from further collecting of tolls from users of the Lekki-Ikoyi Suspension Bridge.
This came as activist and lawyer, Mr. Ebun Adegboruwa, yesterday, said it was unfortunate that the Lagos State Government was carrying on with impunity, by refusing to obey the Federal High Court, Lagos’ order, which declared as unconstitutional, the tolling of the Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge.
Justice Saliu Saidu, in a judgment last week declared that since the bridge was built with public funds, imposition of tolls on motorists using it was illegal.
The court held that the power of control of all navigable waterways in Nigeria, resides with the federal government.
The suit was instituted by Adegboruwa, against the Attorney-General of the Federation, the National Inland Waterways Authority, the Lagos State Government and the state Attorney-General.
In the notice of appeal dated Friday, March 28, 2014, the State Government is challenging the decision of the Federal High Court to the effect that payment by its contractors to National Inland Waterways Authority, NIWA, a Federal Government agency was an admission by the state that the Federal Government had constitutional or legislative authority to regulate inland waterways throughout the country.
The State Government is also asking the Court of Appeal to reverse the decision to the effect that there was no law enacted by the Lagos State House of Assembly authorizing the State to impose tolls on public infrastructure in the State.
According to the State Government, the Lagos State Public Private Partnership Law No. 2 of 2011 clearly empowers the Government to specify the service charges, user fees or tolls which are payable in respect of designated public infrastructure or public assets.
The government in addition to the Notice of Appeal, is praying for an order to stay the execution of the judgment delivered in the suit.
Also, it prayed the court to restrain the Respondents from giving effect to the judgment delivered pending the determination of the appeal filed against the said judgment.
In a statement by the State Solicitor General, Mr. Lawal Pedro, SAN, it said the processes had been served on all the parties to the suit, including the applicant.
It added that April 3, 2014 had been fixed by the Appeal Section of the Federal High Court for settlement of record of proceedings.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the application for stay of execution.