How The Law Empowers Lagos Residents To Pay Parking Fees - Lagos Govt Replies Falana

By Damilare Adeleye

The Lagos State Government has said the law of the state empowers the State Parking Authority to collect parking fees from the residents whenever they park their vehicle outside their domains.

This was disclosed in response to the disclosure credited to Mr Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, who had, on Sunday, described the policy as illegal and urged the state government to withdraw it without delay.

It should be noted that the Lagos State Parking Authority had, in a letter addressed to a firm, stated that it had charged the company N290,000 for the parking lot outside the business premises.

In Falana's view, he said: “The Lagos State Government and all other authorities, as well as other persons, are bound by the valid and subsisting judgment of the Court of Appeal on the exclusive power of local governments to regulate and collect parking levy in Lagos State.

“To that extent, the purported parking levy fixed by the Lagos State Parking Authority cannot be justified under Section 7 of the Constitution. It should be withdrawn without any delay.”

However, remarking to Falana's argument, the Senior Special Assistant to the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Adebayo Haroun, noted that the Local Government and Local Council Development Areas have assigned their powers to the state to collect fees.

This was contained in a statement issued on Tuesday.

It read, “The attention of the Lagos State Parking Authority has been drawn to a statement credited to Mr Femi Falana (SAN) on the power of the agency to collect parking levy in respect of parking spaces in Lagos State.

“The Lagos State Parking Authority Law, 2018 empowers the LG and LCDAs in Lagos State to assign their powers in respect of collection of fees relating to parking to the state government. Accordingly, by a mutual agreement, the LGAs and LCDAs in Lagos State have assigned their powers to the state government to collect fees on parking in Lagos State.

“In a similar circumstance where the Court of Appeal was called upon to interpret Section 7 and Fourth Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) with regards to the Land Use Charge Law of Lagos State, the Court of Appeal in Ola Animashaun Harimot Oluwabukola v. Attorney General of Lagos State and 5 Ors in Appeal No CA/L/1046 delivered on November 19, 2018 held as follows:

“The intendment of Section 1(3) of the Land Use Charge Law of Lagos State is clearly not to take away the function constitutionally donated to the local government but to give powers to the local government to permit a contractual relationship between it and the state on the issue of collection of taxes which is clearly within the responsibility of the local government without breaching any law or constitutional provision.

“The constitution recognises that any person that has power can exercise such power through other persons or institutions. For example, the Attorney-General can exercise its powers through other persons.

“It is therefore constitutional for the state government and, by extension, the Lagos State Parking Authority to demand and collect fees in respect of parking in Lagos State.”