A Federal High Court, Lagos will on September 25, 2017 hear the suit filed by Prince Toluwaleke Megba and Lucky Megba Ojonla Nigeria Limited against the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and five others over theirs right to operate in the inland waterways in Lagos for specific number of years.
Other respondents in the suit are Lagos state government, Attorney General of Lagos, Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi, Eleguishi Property Investment, and Van Oord Nigeria Limited.
The court had at the last adjourned date, ordered parties to maintain status quo, pending the determination of the application.
A decision, which the applicants are alleging has been violated by the defendants.
The case with suit number FHC/L/CS/655/2017 is before Justice M.S. Hassan.
Following the creation of Lagos State Waterways Authority, LASWA, conflict arose as to who is charged with the responsibility of regulating waterways in the Lagos between LASWA and NIWA.
As a result, the Incorporated Associations of Dredgers and Water Transport Operators had gone to court to challenge the state government on the LASWA creation, since they were already dealing with NIWA and the court ruled in favour of NIWA/NIMASA (Nigerian Maritime Administration and Security Agency) and the operators.
The court said then that operators should relate with NIWA since the 1999 Constitution places the control of the inland waterways on the exclusive list to be controlled by the Federal Government.
Although dissatisfied with the decision, Lagos State stopped interfering in the regulation and control of the waterways in the state but appealed the judgment.
Just recently, the Appeal Court, Lagos division delivered judgment affirming the powers of Lagos to control the inland waterways.
Now Lagos state government is bent on carrying out the judgment by approving the expansion of Ikate Kingdom by 200 hectares of land to Lekki Phase 1, through dredging of the lagoon, thereby dislodging those who were earlier in possession of the property.
Consequently, the applicants approached the court, seeking for an injunction to stop them for taken over possession of the disputed waterways.
By Chinyere Obia