Appeal Court grants NIWA powers to regulate intl, intra-state waterways

  • Takes case to Supreme Court
The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has faulted reports that credited to the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode that the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division had set aside the Federal High Court judgment which empowered the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) to regulate inland waterways including dredging activities and has now empowered Lagos State to regulate same within Lagos State.
The management of NIWA in a statement made available to Woleshadarenews clarified that the Court of Appeal only granted Lagos State the power to legislate on intra state waters, meaning that such waterways that originate and end within Lagos State).
According to the agency, “However, such waterways do not exist in Lagos State because all bodies of waterways in Lagos State are international, tidal, intra-coastal and/or inter-state waterways.
The agency further disclosed that the Court of Appeal retained the power to regulate international, intra-coastal and inter-state waterways in NIWA being items provided under articles 36 and 64 of the exclusive legislative list of the 1999 constitution (as amended), adding, “It should be noted that, NIWA was not the plaintiff in this case at the lower Court as wrongly perceived, but a co-defendant with Lagos State”.
“In this connection therefore, NIWA wishes to clarify that it is also imperative to notify the public that beside this Court of Appeal judgment, there is also another subsisting Court of Appeal decision in G. M Ent. Ltd vs C.R. Investment Ltd. reported in (2011) 14 N.W.L.R. part 1266, page 125, where the Court of Appeal held that NIWA has been conferred with far reaching power and right to control, develop, manage and use all the lands, navigable waterways, inland waterways, river ports etc throughout Nigeria”.
It called on all Maritime and Dredging Operators to disregard the latest claims by the Lagos State Government remain calm and continue to carry on their legitimate businesses as regulated by NIWA.
Meanwhile NIWA has already an appeal against the judgment at the Supreme Court pending the formal transmission of the judgment to NIWA and therefore Lagos State has nothing to be excited about since the judgment has not changed the status quo ante.
 “The position therefore remains that it is only the Federal Government that can regulate Inland Waterways, Shipping, navigation and dredging activities within the Nigerian Inland Waterways and its Right- of – Ways.
Wole Shadare