Lagos lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, has raised the alarm over what he claimed to be an unlawful takeover of Tarzan jetties being operated by his client, Ganiyu Balogun, in some parts of Lagos State.
The lawyer claimed that though his client had secured government’s approval and paid for the licence to operate the jetties in the Lekki, Badore, Ikoyi, Ijede, Oworonshoki, Ebute-Iga, Elegbata and Victoria Island areas of Lagos State, officials of the state on June 17, 2016 invaded the Ikoyi jetty to eject his client.
Adegboruwa, who claimed that his client had paid N13.5m to the Lagos State Government for the lease of the locations to use as jetties for water transport, boat yard, boat repairs and general maintenance, alleged that officials of the Lagos State Waterfront Ministry and the Lagos State Waterways Authority vandalised his clients boats during the alleged invasion.
Adegboruwa, who asked the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, in a letter dated June 20, to prevail upon the state’s agents, argued that the invasion of his client’s property was unlawful, especially as the control of the waterways was still a subject of litigation between Lagos State and the Federal Government.
According to him, Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court had in a judgment on March 28, 2014 declared that “the Federal Government of Nigeria is vested with exclusive power by the 1999 Constitution to administer activities within the coastal waters and the inland waters of Nigeria”; a judgment which Lagos State had however appealed.
Adegboruwa said, “Whilst that appeal is still pending before the Court of Appeal, officials of the Lagos State Waterfront Ministry and the Lagos State Waterways Authority, with armed policemen, swooped upon the Ikoyi jetty of our client, on Friday, June 17, 2016.
“There was no prior notice of this invasion. All efforts made by our client to verify the cause of the sudden invasion were rebuffed, as the invaders claimed that they were acting on the orders of His Excellency, the Governor. They took photographs, made video recordings and left.”
“Not long thereafter, they came back to the Ikoyi jetty around 4pm to post a sticker, which demanded that structures and boats on the land be removed within 24 hours!”
“Around 8am on Saturday, June 18, 2016, LASG officials stormed our client’s jetty at Ikoyi, with armed policemen, with bulldozers, with cranes, low bed carriers, trucks, lifters, etc, and commenced demolition of vital structures in the jetty. They lifted about 15 boats parked within the premises, some of which were wilfully damaged.”
He alleged that the invasion was made while a suit filed on June 10 by his client to stop his forceful eviction was still pending before the Federal High Court.
While urging Ambode to uphold the rule of law which he enjoyed when the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court upheld his victory, Adegboruwa said Lagos State could only benefit from efforts of private individuals who are into water transportation in the face of worsening traffic gridlocks on Lagos roads.
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