The Lagos State Government on Thursday refuted a misleading claim by the National Inland Waterways Authority on the recent judgment of the Court of Appeal setting aside the judgment of the Federal High Court and allowing the appeal of the State Government on its right to control its inland waterways to the exclusion of the Federal Government.
NIWA had claimed that the judgment of the Appellate Court retained its power to regulate all waterways, including international, intra-coastal and inter-state waterways.
But in a press statement issued on Thursday by the Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Steve Ayorinde, the State Government clarified that in the lead judgment, delivered by Dr. Hussein Mukhtar, the Court of Appeal indeed set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court and held that the Lagos State House of Assembly is competent to make laws in respect of the intra-inland waterways in Lagos State except those inter-state waterways under item 5 in the 2nd Schedule of the National Inland Waterways Act.
Ayorinde said: “”It is on record that the Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority was a respondent at the Court of Appeal and was represented by Counsel who argued and adopted its brief of Argument on NIWA’s behalf,” the Commissioner said, adding that “the rules of precedent for judgments are also very clear and this landmark judgment represents the current law on this issue until it us set aside by a higher Court.
“Any arguments to the contrary by NIWA are misconceived and should be disregarded. IT IS NOT IN DOUBT THAT THIS JUDGMENT FAVOURS Lagos State Government AND BECAUSE THE STATUS QUO HAS CHANGED IS THE REASON FOR THE PURPORTED NOTICE OF APPEAL REFERRED TO BY NIWA.”
In the meantime, the State Government urged all boat operators and dredging companies to be law-abiding and FULLY comply with the provisions of Lagos State Waterways Authority Law Cap L72 Laws of Lagos State 2015 guiding dredging and boat operations, which has been declared to be a valid and binding law by the Court of Appeal.
“Failure to do so will attract appropriate stiff sanctions under the law,” Ayorinde said.