Apparently propelled by the flagrant disregard to earlier court judgements on Lekki tolling, a Lagos State-based legal practitioner and human rights activist Barr. Dele Farotimi has put forward, courts pronouncements on the illegality of the Lagos State Government, LASG, to commence any tolling activity on the Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge, forcing it to rescind its decision on the matter.
The legal luminary, who was addressing newsmen in Lagos recently, said the government has no legality to open the Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge for businesses, considering that there had been a judgement of a Federal High Court declaring illegal and unlawful attempt to toll on the bridge.
Barr. Farotimi referenced a suit which was filed by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 2014 before a Federal High Court against the Lagos State Government, and revealed how the court gave a judgement which clearly pronounced the tolling illegal and unlawful.
According to him, dissatisfied with the position of the Federal High Court, the Lagos State Government, in 2017, had gone to an Appeal Court to obtain a Stay of Execution on the earlier judgement of the Federal High Court, but disclosed that the appeal was thrown out, and the court also ordered that it be deleted from legal records.
“ There is no legal basis for tolling. In 2014, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), filed a suit against the Lagos State Government before a Federal High Court. He obtained a judgement which clearly pronounced the tolling illegal and unlawful.
“ Lagos State Government proceeded to get a Stay of Execution and then went to an appeal. That appeal has been thrown out of court. Not only was the appeal thrown out, the court ordered it deleted from records. So, there is nothing upon to place a Stay of Execution today.
“So, as at today, there is no legal basis whatsoever for the tolling that they are threatening to commence on the bridge”.
While expressing worry over the insistence of the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu on the tolling, Barr. Farotimi said any attempt by the governor to forge ahead with the tolling on the bridge will be insensitive, contemptuous of the residents of the area and also contemptuous of the court that had already given judgements on the matter.
“ The insistence of the Sanwo-Olu and his ‘sugar Daddy’, for that matter: tolling on that bridge is essentially contemptuous of the people who live in that environment and completely contemptuous of the court that had pronounced its legality.
“So, when government talks about maintenance of peace, the question I ask is: must peace be maintained at the expense of justice?”.
The lawyer who bemoaned Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole for impunity and disrespect to the legal frameworks in place, described Nigeria as a criminal enterprise always on the move to flout court pronouncements.
“ I have said this severally that we are essentially a criminal enterprise, either as a country or as a state”.
It would be recalled that the Lagos State Government, in collaboration with Lekki Concession Company Limited (LCC) recently, announced a suspension of the resumption date of toll collection at the bridge.
The toll collection which was earlier scheduled to resume on April 1st, was shifted to April 17th 2022 and now indefinitely.
According to a statement signed by the Managing Director of LCC, Yomi Omomuwasan and made available to newsmen, the company decided to suspend the resumption to enable it consult more widely with key stakeholders in the Eti-Osa, Lekki area, to address concerns raised by the people.
Follow this link to listen to Barr. Dele Farotimi’s press conference. You can also take a look at an article on The Nigerian economy and the growing business opportunities in Lekki written by our columnist.