Judge orders Lagos, others to file written addresses on Lekki-Ikoyi toll gate suit

Semiu Salami
Semiu Salami
Lekki toll gate

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday ordered the Lagos State  Attorney General (AG) to address it on the claim that the Federal Government granted approval for the construction of the Lekki-Ikoyi bridge.

Justice Saliu Saidu gave the order at the resumed hearing of a suit filed by a Lagos-based lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, challenging the State Government’s collection of tolls on the bridge.

The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) are joined as first and second respondents in the suit.

Also as third and fourth respondents in the suit are the AG of Lagos State and the State Government.

The state AG, Ade Ipaye, had in a counter-affidavit on Nov. 25, averred that the state had paid for and obtained approval to construct the bridge.

Adegboruwa, however, informed the court that he had filed a further reply to the respondent’s counter affidavit, arguing that neither the Federal nor the State Government, had power to collect toll on the bridge.

The applicant added that although the respondent had argued that an approval was sought and obtained, such approval did not vest power in the state to impose tolls on motorists.

He, therefore, urged the court to adopt all processes filed by the respondents, in support of his originating summons.

The lawyer also sought leave of the court to re-adopt his arguments.

Justice Saidu, in a short ruling, ordered the applicant and all respondents, to file written addresses on the new facts raised in the third respondent’s counter-affidavit, stating that it had obtained approval for the bridge.

The judge also ordered Queen Mba, Counsel to NIWA, to file a reply to the third respondent’s counter-affidavit. He said that failure to do so would be deemed an admission of facts deposed.

Saidu then adjourned the case to Jan. 16, 2014 to enable parties file their addresses.

Adegboruwa had filed the suit on Nov. 26, 2012, seeking an order of injunction, restraining the Lagos State Government from collecting any toll or tax in any form whatsoever, from motorists on the bridge.

The applicant also wants the court to determine whether the government has the power and authority to construct a bridge on the Lagos Lagoon and the Lekki Lagoon, which are both categorised by law as federal navigable waterways.

He also seeks a determination of court as to whether there exists any law in Nigeria, authorising the collection of such tolls, tax or fee from citizens.

Adegboruwa also wants the court to declare that imposition of such toll on road users and residents of Lekki Scheme 1, Ikoyi, Ajah, Ibeju-Lekki and Epe communities, amounts to a flagrant violation of their rights.

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