By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Monsur Olowoopejo
lagos—Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, yesterday, expressed excitement at the Appeal Court ruling in Lagos which set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court empowering the Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority, NIWA, to regulate transportation and sand dredging in the State, saying that the development would go a long way to aid the efforts of the State Government in abating flood in the State.
The Appellate Court had, on July 18, 2017, allowed the Appeal of the State Government and set aside the judgment of the lower court.
Speaking while swearing in the newly democratically elected Chairmen and Vice Chairmen of the 20 Local Government Areas and 37 Local Council Development Areas in the state in Alausa, Governor Ambode described the judgment as a major success in the quest of the state to control its resources and enshrine the true spirit of fiscal federalism.
He said with the judgment, the era of uncontrolled dredging is now over in the state as firm control will be taken over the state’s inland waterways and the adjoining lands including all sand dredging activities.
“I am delighted to inform you that the State Government has recorded a major success in its quest to control its resources and enshrine the true spirit of Fiscal Federalism. Last week on 18th July 2017, the Court of Appeal Lagos Division allowed the Appeal of the Lagos State Government and set aside the Federal High Court Judgment which gave the Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority to regulate transportation and sand dredging.
“The era of uncontrolled dredging is over and this serves as a clear warning that the Lagos State Government will now take firm control over its inland waterways and the adjoining lands including all sand dredging activities. This will further aid our efforts in abating flood in the State,” Governor Ambode said.
Addressing the new council chiefs at a well-attended event witnessed by key party leaders as well as families, friends and well-wishers, Ambode said with the successful completion of council elections, his administration has, once again, demonstrated total commitment to deepening democratic values and good governance at the grassroots.
The governor said his administration recognized the importance of government at the councils as a vibrant and effective system, critical towards ensuring government of inclusion where everybody has a voice, adding that it was gratifying that the chain of government linking the Wards, Councils and LGAs to the State Government had been completed.
He particularly congratulated the leaders of All Progressives Congress, APC, in the State and the new council bosses on their victory at the polls, as well as the Chairman and members of staff of the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission, LASIEC, for delivering a free, fair and credible election.
Earlier in his welcome address, Secretary to the State Government, Mr Tunji Bello said the development confirms that democratic institution is strong and consolidating in the State, just as he urged the new council chiefs to build vigorously on the landmark achievements of Governor Ambode by ensuring that laudable developmental projects are also felt at the grassroots.
Responding on behalf of the new Chairmen and Vice Chairmen, Chairman of Lagos Island East Local Government, Hon Kamal Bashua thanked Governor Ambode and the people of the State as well as the leadership of APC for the opportunity to serve, assuring that they would not disappoint the people but hit the ground running.