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LASG Counters Online Reports, Says State Govts Have Control Over Inland Waterways

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By Daniel Dafe

The Lagos State Government has said that lawmakers in the state have rights to make laws in respect of the intra-inland waterways in Lagos State.

This was contained in a statement signed by Hameed Oyenuga, Director, Civil Litigation, Lagos State Ministry of Justice.

According to the statement that countered online reports on BusinessInsiderNG and shipandports.com.ng, the State Government opined that by a recent Court of Appeal judgement, the only exception is the inter-state waterway declared as international or inter-state waterway under item 5 in the Second Schedule to the National Inland Waterways Act CAP N47 LFN 2004.

Recall that BusinessInsiderNG and shipandports.com.ng recently reported that according to a Federal High Court judgement in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Lagos and other states were barred from control of Inland Waterways.

The said report titled “Court Bars Lagos, Other States From Control Of Inland Waterways” and
“Court Bars States From Control Of Inland Waterways”, in Suit No: FHC/PH/CS/142/2022 with Bright Waters Limited as Plaintiff, had the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Rivers State, the Commissioner of Environment, Rivers State and Petroleum Financial Corporate (PFC) as defendants.

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Describing the report as misleading, Lagos State said that on the 17th of July, 2017, the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division held that by the combined interpretation of Part 1 of the Second Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, especially items 29, 36 and 64 of the Exclusive Legislative List the waterways cutting across International and State boundaries are to be declared as such by the National Assembly but there is nothing in the Exclusive List dealing with inter-state waterways either in Lagos or any other State in the Federation.

The Court of Appeal had stated item 64 deals with water from sources declared by the National Assembly to be sources affecting more than one state.

Furthermore, Lagos State said that “the Court of Appeal held that the absence of Lagos State intra-waterways in the Exclusive List and Concurrent List makes it automatically a Residuary Item that falls within the Legislative competence of the Lagos State House of Assembly.”

Meanwhile, Oyenuga said that the National Inland Waterways dissatisfied with the judgement of the Court of Appeal, appealed to the Supreme Court where the matter is now pending.

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