FG seeks out-of-court settlement with Lagos over control of waterways 

 

Funso Olojo

The battle-weary Federal Government is seeking a permanent solution to the lingering feud between it and the Lagos State government over the battle for the soul of the lucrative Lagos waterways.

It could be recalled that the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), an agency of the Federal Government and Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) has been locked in a bitter rivalry over the control of the waterways in Lagos State.

The battle of supremacy which has lingered for over 10 years, had become a subject of intractable litigation which is currently at the Supreme Court for adjudication.

However, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora,  the new Managing Director of NIWA ,has disclosed the intention of the Federal agency to engage the Lagos state government in a peace talk with the aim of settling the dispute out of court.

Mamora, who believed that there was enough for the two agencies to share, said that the feud was fuelled more by greed for revenue than actual intention to provide security on the disputed waterways.

In an exclusive interview with nigeriamaritime360.com, the NIWA boss stated that he would seek the audience of the Executive Governor of Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode to discuss the modalities for amicable resolution of the dispute and how the disputed waterways could be delineated between the two agencies to operate.

For me, it should not even be an issue of supremacy because government at all levels are supposed to collaborate and be in synergy. What are we set out to achieve? It is the good of the people and if that is the goal; we don’t need any battle of supremacy at all.

“Fortunately, on one of my very first outings, that was the question I was asked even though we were discussing the issue of security and I made it clear to them that the issue between Lagos and federal government regarding the inland waterways is not issue of security, it is an issue of revenue and I made it clear that I believe in amicable resolution.

“Lagos and federal governments being in court for over a decade and in all these years, which is losing? The two sides. My approach is to have an out of court settlement and amicably too. Once we agree in principle that we want this thing resolved in the interest of the people, all we have to work out is simple modality. Again, I must quickly add that there is enough for everybody’s need but not enough for everybody’s greed.

“So if we have an understanding, there are so many jetties from Badagry to Epe to Ikorodu. So, that’s why I said there was enough for everybody’s need. We can always agree on how we share out even locations or our operations but the big problem is that we just must ensure that at the end of the day, we do not subject our people to multiple taxation, that’s the issue because the goal of government is for the good of the people.

“Hopefully, sooner than later, I intend to seek audience with His Excellency, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos because I need to take it from the top and once the governor buys into it, in terms of what we are trying to do, I think every other thing will follow. So, it is one of my priorities, it is one of the things I intend to do. It is one of the expectations of the people out there and we intend to resolve it once and for all”, Senator Mamora disclosed.

 

 

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