NIWA carpets LASWA, as court grants it control of Lagos Waterways


By Seun Ibiyemi

The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has carpeted the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) as well as other agencies, even as it announced that the courts have 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 agency also reassured 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.

The Managing Director of NIWA Dr George Moghalu, gave the assurance in a brief statement issued in Lagos on Monday.

Moghalu disclosed that NIWA in 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.

He said, “We at NIWA hereby reassure our clients and stakeholders of the protection of their investment 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 right things.

“Also, we shall put a stop further intimidation of federal government licensed stakeholders.”

Moghalu throwing more light on the Court of Appeal judgement, said the judges of the Court of Appeal in the iconic judgement without any ambiguity that Lagos Lagoon and Lekki lagoon are exclusively within the control of NIWA.

He assured that any activity within Inland Waterways, disturbed by any state agencies and illegal bodies within NIWA Right Way, would enjoy the authority’s protection services.

Moghalu further explained in 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.

He noted, “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, while the revenue accruable from this federal route is payable to the Federal Waterways Authority.

“The court had emphasized that it is only all other inland waterways within Lagos State that are within the legislative competence of the Lagos State House of Assembly, and any revenue accruable therefrom is payable to the Lagos State Waterways Authority.”

Moghalu said NIWA Lagos Office had 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.