An indication of this tough stance came from the NIWA Managing Director, Hajiya Inna Amina Ciroma, who asserted that the organisation will not accept Lagos State Government’s encroachment on its rights of way.
Addressing journalists, after a tour of NIWA Lagos Area facilities, yesterday, Ciroma said that the alleged encroachment by the Lagos State Government on NIWA’s acclaimed properties is unconstitutional as, according to her, the law that establishes the authority is a Federal law which supersedes the state laws.
She said that her administration will employ legal means to ensure that NIWA recovers its properties, if attempt to dialogue with the Lagos State Government fails.
“NIWA will first of all pursue dialogue with Lagos State Government before considering legal option, because I believe Federal laws supersede state laws. So, any law purportedly made by the Lagos State House of Assembly to claim our right of way will not be accepted. We shall see if we can dialogue with the Lagos State Government on how we can resolve this issue in our interest to ensure that we recover our rightful property from the Lagos state government,” she said.
The NIWA boss also added that the facilities in the state are necessary to generate revenue for the Federal Government, noting that Lagos is the hub for foreign investors.
She pointed out another of NIWA’s major challenges is inadequate funding, adding that the organisation, as one of the parastatals under the Federal Ministry of Transport, has a terrible constituent regarding funding.
She said that NIWA is still exploring measures of enhancing its revenue base which has necessitated the enhancement of its staff strength and the empowerment of the NIWA Police Command.
“At times that the people that use our facilities wouldn’t want to pay, so we have to use our Nigeria Police to get this people to pay up,” Ciroma stated, adding that personnel of the NIWA Police Command are posted to all its facilities across the country to ensure safety and compliance, as well as facilitate effective revenue generation.
She assured that NIWA will put in place measures on how to make the waterways viable for purpose of revenue generation for the government, noting that her administration is aimed at engaging “private investors to develop the facilities for efficiency of the inland waterways of the country.”
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