By GODFREY BIVBERE
LAGOS—AREA Manager of the National Inland Waterways Authority, NIWA, Mr. Muazu Sambo, has accused the Lagos State government of flouting a Federal High Court judgment restricting it from collecting tolls on the nation’s inland waterways.
Muazu, who said this during a courtesy visit to Vanguard, insisted that issues relating to inland waterways have not ceased from being in the exclusive list of the 1999 constitution.
He noted that the court had ruled that NIWA and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, were the lawful agencies saddled with the responsibility of overseeing inland waterways in the country, adding that the presiding judge, Justice J. T. Tsoho, also restrained the state government from further collecting and imposing charges on the Association of Tourist Boat Operators, Water Transporters of Nigeria and Dredgers Association of Nigeria.
His words:“I can mention two cases of the violation of this order that has been brought to our notice. The first one was on May 1, 2014. A boat operator at Majudun, Ikorodu reported to NIWA that his boat was seized by LASWA and taken to their office at Falomo. The boat was not released to the operator until he was forced to pay twenty thousand naira to LASWA. We have evidence of that payment with our police.
“The second case is the violation of our right of way by LASWA at Lekki Scheme One. At that location, one of our clients, Gani Tarzan, who has a jetty there, operating under NIWA’s permit had his fence demolished by LASWA. They carted away his fencing materials and then put their signboard that the land belongs to LASWA. LASWA had gone ahead to impudently flout these court orders.
‘’LASWA’s audacity is not only a violation of the Federal High Court ruling but also a violation of a case long decided at the Court of Appeal which gave jurisdiction to NIWA. We will not hesitate to take advantage of the legal options which includes filing a case against LASWA and the Attorney-General of Lagos State for contempt of court.’’