Lagos Appeals Against Lekki-Ikoyi Bridge Judgment
The Lagos Statement Government said on Tuesday that it had appealed against the judgment of a Federal High Court, Lagos, which held that the government had no power to collect tolls from users of the Lekki-Ikoyi bridge.
The state's Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Lawal Pedro (SAN), said in a statement that the government had, in addition to the notice of appeal, filed a motion for stay of execution of the judgment.
Pedro said in a statement, that the notice of appeal was filed at the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, while the motion for stay of execution was filed at the Federal High Court, Lagos, which delivered the judgment.
He said both were filed on March 28, the day after the judgment was delivered.
Pedro said, “The Lagos State Government has formally appealed against the judgment delivered by the Federal High Court presided over by Justice S. Saidu on March 27, 2014 which held that there was no law to cover the toll being collected by Lagos State Government.
“In addition to the Notice of Appeal, the State Government by an application dated and filed on Mach 28, 2014 in the Federal High Court, is praying for an order to stay the execution of the judgment delivered in the suit and to restrain the respondents from giving effect to the judgment delivered pending the determination of the appeal filed against the said judgment.”
Toll collection has continued on the bridge since the judgment was delivered.
Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaye, had told journalists some moments after the judgment was delivered that toll collection was going to continue on the bridge.
This, he said, was because the court did not make any consequential order or declaration, barring the government from further collecting tolls from the users of the bridge.
Ipaye had said on March 27, “The judgment read this morning did not specifically address many of the questions raised by the applicant, neither did it grant any of the declarations sought.
“As you heard for yourselves, no order made. However, the pronouncements referred to above are capable of being interpreted as court orders, hence our decision to appeal and stay of execution immediately.”
But the civil rights lawyer, who instituted the suit against the state government and others, Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, described the development as a violation of the judgment.
He confirmed to our correspondent that he had been served with the new processes, but wondered why the government was seeking a stay of execution of the judgment if truly there was no order of court barring toll collection on the bridge.
“Why are they seeking a stay of execution of the judgment. Since the day the judgment was delivered government has continued to violate it by continuing to collect tolls from the users of the bridge,” Adegboruwa told our correspondent on the telephone on Tuesday.
Part of the government's grounds of appeal against the judgment was that, contrary to Justice Saidu's pronouncement, there was an existing law in the state providing for toll collection on the bridge.
Pedro said on Tuesday, “More importantly, the state government wants the Court of Appeal to reverse the decision of the Federal High Court to the effect that there was no law enacted by the Lagos State House of Assembly authorising 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.”
Justice Saliu Saidu of the Federal High Court, Lagos, had in his judgment delivered on March 27, 2014, held that there was no any existing law in the state conferring the power on government to impose tolls on the users of the bridge.
The suit was instituted against the Attorney-General of the Federation, the National Inland Waterways Authority, the Lagos State Government and the state Attorney-General.