By Innocent Orok
National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), , has reassured law abiding stakeholders in possession of its approvals on the right of way of adequate protection to secure their projects and investments against unbridled harassment from parties not known to law.
NIWA management, in a brief statement issued to put issues of Right of Way in perspective, disclosed that the Authority’s in a 2014 judgement captured in suit CA/L/886/2014- Lagos Waterways Authority and 3 ORS V INC Trustees of Association of Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transporters of Nigeria and 5 ORS, vested the right of all waterways in Nigeria and shorelines to NIWA and therefore warned all trespassers to be well guided and be circumspect or face the wrath of the Federal government.
The statement reads ” We at National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) hereby reassure our clients and stakeholders of the protection of their investments and workforce. We shall within the laws and constitutional provisions, ensure that we keep trespassers out of our Right of Way and may where necessary deploy the Federal might to bring the oppositions to adhere to do the right things and to stop further intimidation of Federal government licensed stakeholders.'” the management statement which was issued from lagos Area office explained.
Throwing more light on the Court of Appeal judgement, Niwa management quoted the judges of the Court of Appeal who stated in the iconic judgement without any ambiguity that Lagos Lagoon and lekki lagoons are exclusively within the control of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), assuring that any activities within Inland Waterways, disturbed by any state agencies and illegal bodies within NIWA Right Way, will enjoy Niwa protection services.
It’s further explains that “it is intrusive that we bear in mind that the law as it stands today, and encapsulated in the Court of Appeal judgement states clearly the areas of competence of both governments — Federal and State in the following words-
” Item 5 in the second schedule to the National Inland Waterways Act is the relevant provision for the navigable route that falls under the exclusive legislative list and it provides thus:
The intra coastal route from Badagry, along the Badagry Creek to Lagos through Lagos Lagoon to Epe, Lekki Lagoon to Iwopin along Omu/Creek Talifa lively to Ajilete , Akata, Aboko, Arogbo, Ofunama Benin Creek to Warri, also the canal running from Araromi through Aiyetoro. Imelumo to Benin River and from Aiyetoro through Mahin Lagoon to Igbokoda.
This route runs through International and states boundaries and is therefore consistent being an item on the exclusive legislative list. “Revenue accruable from this Federal Routes is payable to the Federal Waterways Authority”.
The court emphasized that “it is only All other inland waterways within Lagos State are within the legislative competence of the Lagos State House of Assembly and any revenue accruable therefrom payable to the Lagos State Waterways Authority.”
“Let it be known that NIWA Lagos Office , has maintained a clear vision of its mandate and had given all stakeholders the opportunity and enabling environment to join in the campaign to promote sanity and rule of law on Lagos Waterways and its shorelines management”, the statement concludes.