Lagos – Lagos State Government on Monday asked a Federal High Court, Lagos, to dismiss a suit challenging its plan to collect toll on the recently constructed Lekki-Ikoyi suspension bridge.
The suit was filed by a human rights activist, Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, challenging the legality of construction of a bridge on a federal navigable water way and seeking to collect toll on same.
At the hearing on Monday, Mr Ade Ipaye, the state Attorney-General, said that a preliminary objection had been filed challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the suit.
He told the court that the applicant’s suit was incompetent and premature since there was yet to be a decision as to whether or not to collect toll on the bridge.
“All remedies sought by the applicant are in respect of the tolling, since they have not suggested that the bridge be removed.
“In the first place, the applicant commenced this suit by an originating summons, which is not the appropriate mode of commencing an action of this nature.
“There are uncontroversial facts that the bridge in question has not even been formally handed over to the Lagos State Government and so, the applicant’s action is too early in the day.
“The court does not deal with hypothetical cases of this nature, but with substantial evidence.
According to him, the sole evidence in support of the applicant’s claim is the newspaper publication which does not testify to the veracity of the facts contained in it.
He argued that the National Inland Waterway Act (NIWA) did not prevent states from building bridges upon its waterway.
Ipaye argued that Section 315 (1) (b) of the Act empowers states to make laws touching on internal waterways.
He therefore urged the court to dismiss the suit for lacking merit, since there were no allegations that the bridge impedes navigation.
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