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Lagos challenges bridge toll collection ruling

28 March 2014, 07:44Henry Ifeanyi

Lagos - Lagos State will appeal the ruling by a Federal High Court outlawing the collection of tolls on the Lekki-Ikoyi bridge.

Addressing journalists late Thursday at the Government House in Ikeja, the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Ade Ipaye, said the judgment was only a judicial pronouncement which the state could appeal.

Ipaye said it did not specifically address many questions raised by the applicant, neither did it grant any of the declarations sought.

"However, the pronouncements referred to above are capable of being interpreted as court orders, hence our decision to appeal and seek a stay of execution immediately," Ipaye said.

Justice Saliu Saidu had earlier ruled that the power to control the Lekki Lagoon and other Federal Navigable Waterways lies with the Federal Government.

Accordiig to him, the bridge is not a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) initiative for which the collection of tolls can be allowed.

However, Ipaye said the judge erred when he held that only the Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority was the only agency authorised to regulate inland waterways in Nigeria.
Ipaye said another error was the assumption of the court that the Private Public Partnerships Law of Lagos State 2011.

He argued that contrary to the court's assumption, Section 29 of the law clearly states that it applies to public infrastructure or public assets.

Ipaye said tolls can be collected on any public infrastructure irrespective of its construction history.

He said the collection of toll was to augment the states Consolidated Revenue Fund,  enable it to offset debts incurred on the construction and to keep the bridge properly maintained.

- CAJ News

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