Control Of Inland Waterways: NIWA Approaches Supreme Court
…Says Operators Are Partners In Business
The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) said that it has approached the Supreme Court to quash the judgement by the Court of Appeal on July 18, 2017 that gives the Lagos State the right to regulate activities in the inland waterways.
The Area Manager, NIWA, Muazu Sambo made this known while speaking at a stakeholder meeting in Lagos yesterday to intimate them on the decision the agency will take or has taken as it concerns the judgment. .
He explained that the decision to approach the Supreme Court was based on the advice of the Attorney General of the Federation, adding that NIWA has also asked for stay of execution pending the determination of the case by the Apex Court.
Sambo insisted that NIWA, as it is today is saddled with the management, directing and control of the activities in the inland waterways, assuring stakeholders that NIWA would not allow anyone to harass them in the course of carrying out their legitimate duties.
He also used the opportunity to further urged Marine operators, dredgers and all those carrying out related activities in the inland waterways to ignore the seven days ultimatum given to the by Lagos State Waterways Authority(LASWA)and continue to do their lawful businesses.
NIWA, he stated would protect operators from harassment by the Lagos State Government because the agency gave them permit to operate in the inland waterways, adding that NIWA sees these operators as partners in business.
According to him, “If we issue operators permits to operate, it is the duty of NIWA to protect these operators.”
He also assured that NIWA as an entity would not allow what happened in 2008 to repeat itself when some operators either lost their lives and businesses to crisis in the sector
He added that in view of the Dr Hussein Mukhtar, Justice, Court of Appeal judgement, which reads, “It is hereby held that the Lagos State House of Assembly is competent to make laws in respect of the intra-inland waterways in Lagos State except the Inter-State waterway declared as International or Interstate Waterway under Item 5 in the 2nd Schedule to the National Inland Waterways Act,” NIWA requested that Lagos State should define their Intra-state water routes in the state.
Speaking further, he argued that the Court of Appeal did not address the issue of the law setting up Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), which according to him was set aside by a lower court.
The Area Manager reiterated that what NIWA collects from operators are charges and not royalties as been speculated in some quarters.