October 5, 2022

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LASG APPEAL AGAINST FHC JUDGEMENT ON LEKKI-IKOYI LINK BRIDGE TOLLING SUBSISTS- Judgement by the court not actionable

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The Lagos State Government has declared as grossly incorrect the claims in the statement making the rounds in the social media and in the rumor mill that, the collection of tolls on the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge is unlawful and without legal basis or right.


Rather, the Lagos State Government’s appeal against the judgment of the Federal High Court subsists and the judgment of the Federal High Court cannot be enforced at this stage.

A media statement signed by the state’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Barrister Moyosore Onigbanjo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, said the statement that Lagos State Government had no pending appeal was very far from the truth.

He said without equivocation that the Lagos State Government had a pending appeal against the judgment of the Federal High Court in Suit No FHC/L/CS/1405/02 between Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa Esq. Vs. Attorney General of The Federation & Others.

The media statement said the judgement the federal high court delivered in a suit filed by barrister Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, on the 27th day of March, 2014 was appealed on 28th of March, 2014.

Barrister Moyosore in the statement said, “the Lagos State Government (sued as 3rd and 4th Respondents) filed a Notice of Appeal against the judgment of the Federal High Court and an application for stay of execution and injunction pending appeal the Federal High Court delivered judgment in Suit No FHC/L/CS/1405/02”.

The statement noted that, “on 11th of November, 2014 the Lagos State Government filed an application for extension of time within which to compile and transmit the Records of Appeal, at the Court of Appeal”

The office of the Attorney General chronicled that, on the 9th of October, 2017 owing to lack of representation on the part of Lagos State Government, the application for extension of time to transmit the Records of Appeal, filed on the 11th of November, 2014 was struck out”

And the court pronounced thus, “Since Applicant is aware of today’s date and is not in court, we take it that applicant is not diligent in prosecuting its application. It is hereby struck out. Number Deleted”

However, the kernel of the court pronouncement was the striking out of the judgement application and not the appeal itself, which by all intent and purposes the appeal still stands and in force.

The media statement further explained that, “from the foregoing quote what was struck out was the application (that came up before the Court of Appeal on 09/10/17) and not the appeal. There is a distinction between striking out an application and striking out an appeal”.

The commissioner of Justice succinctly made the position of the law known whenever there is legal entanglement of this nature.

The Attorney General thus elucidated on the seemingly legal entanglement, “the position of the law is that once a Notice of Appeal is filed along with an application for stay of execution/injunction pending appeal, the judgement being appealed against cannot be enforced until the application for stay of execution/injunction pending appeal has been determined”.

By this very fact, all the hues and cries in some section of the media were at variance to the letter and the spirit of the judgement as delivered in this matter.

Read further clarification as volunteered by the Lagos State Commissioner for Justice:

THE LEKKI-IKOYI LINK BRIDGE – THE LEGAL STATUS OF APPEAL AGAINST JUDGMENT OF FEDERAL HIGH COURT IN SUIT No. FHC/L/CS/1405/02
Our attention has been drawn to the erroneous statements circulating in the media that the Lagos State Government does not have the legal right to collect tolls on the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge and that tolling on the Link Bridge is unlawful.
The misleading statements are based on the false premise that the Lagos State Government has no pending appeal against the judgment of the Federal High Court in Suit No FHC/L/CS/1405/02 between Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa Esq. Vs. Attorney General of The Federation & Ors.
In the light of this misrepresentation, it is necessary to state as follows;

  1. On the 27th day of March, 2014 the Federal High Court delivered judgment in Suit No FHC/L/CS/1405/02.
  2. Thereafter on 28th of March, 2014 the Lagos State Government (sued as 3rd and 4th Respondents) filed a Notice of Appeal against the judgment of the Federal High Court and an application for stay of execution and injunction pending appeal.
  3. That on 11th of November, 2014 the Lagos State Government filed an application for extension of time within which to compile and transmit the Records of Appeal, at the Court of Appeal
  4. However, on the 9th of October, 2017 owing to lack of representation on the part of Lagos State Government, the application for extension of time to transmit the Records of Appeal, filed on the 11th of November, 2014 was struck out and the Court stated: “Since Applicant is aware of today’s date and is not in court, we take it that applicant is not diligent in prosecuting its application. It is hereby struck out. Number Deleted”
  5. From the foregoing quote what was struck out was the application (that came up before the Court of Appeal on 09/10/17) and not the appeal. There is a distinction between striking out an application and striking out an appeal.
  6. As at date, there is no order striking out Lagos State Government’s appeal against the judgment of the Federal High Court delivered on 27th of March, 2014 in Suit No FHC/L/CS/1405/02.
  7. It is also notable that before the Federal High Court, the claimant sought ten (10) Declaratory reliefs and one (1) order of injunction[1], to restrain the Lagos State Government from collecting tolls on the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge.
  8. However, in its judgement dated the 27th March, 2014, the Federal High Court did not specifically or expressly grant either the Declarations or the injunction sought. It rather only held that:

“I agree and uphold that the construction of this bridge was authorized and the 3rd Respondent has power to generate revenue thereon from the subject matter but the existing law did not cover this bridge and the 3rd Respondent can only make law to that effect before it can collect toll on bridge”

  1. Dissatisfied with the lack of clarity and precision in the judgment amongst other grievances the Lagos State Government filed a Notice of Appeal against the judgment on 28th March, 2014.
  2. The position of the law is that once a Notice of Appeal is filed along with an application for stay of execution/injunction pending appeal, the judgement being appealed against cannot be enforced until the application for stay of execution/injunction pending appeal has been determined. This position was upheld in VASWANI TRADING COMPANY V. SAVALAKI & CO (1972) N.S.C.C @ 697 – 698, where the Supreme Court of Nigeria held that:

“…whilst by virtue of the provision of the section, an appeal or the filing thereof could not eo ipso operate as a stay of execution, clearly in practice, the position should be different where apart from filing an appeal, the prospective appellant also files an application in this Court, by which a stay of execution of the same judgement is sought. In such circumstances, a general appraisal of the whole situation is absolutely necessary and it is most desirable that the court should ensure that, at that stage of the proceedings, it is not possible for any party to present it with a fait accompli…”

  1. Notwithstanding the above position of the law. The Lagos State Government affirms that it will continue to engage with all stakeholders and concerned members of the public in the Lekki axis and will abide by commitments and concessions made at the various stakeholders’ meetings.

Based on the foregoing, the statements that the collection of tolls on the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge is unlawful and without legal basis or right are clearly incorrect. The Lagos State Government’s appeal against the judgment of the Federal High Court subsists and the judgment of the Federal High Court cannot be enforced at this stage.

DATED this 26th Day of April 2022
M.J. Onigbanjo SAN
Attorney General & Commissioner for Justice
Lagos State

ANNEXURE 1 – CLAIMANT’S RELIEFS IN SUIT No. FHC/L/CS/1405/02

  1. “A DECLARATION that under the National Inland Waterways Authority Act, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,
    1999, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other prevailing statutes, Lagos State Government is entitled to build, erect, construct and maintain a bridge on any federal navigable waterway in Nigeria, in particular, over the Lagos and Lekki Lagoon and to impose, collect or demand toll fee, tax or other fee from the Applicant and other citizens of Nigeria, for the use and enjoyment thereof.
  2. A DECLARATION that under National Inland Waterways Authority Act, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other prevailing statutes, Lagos State Government is not conferred with jurisdiction, authority or power of management or control over any federal navigable waterway in Nigeria, in particular, the Lagos and Lekki Lagoon, so as to entitle it to demand, collect or impose any toll fee, road tax or any other fee, from the Applicant and other citizens of Nigeria, for the use and enjoyment of such federal navigable waterway or in respect of any facility built or erected thereon, such as the Lekki Admiralty-Ikoyi Suspension Bridge.
  3. A DECLARATION that under National Inland Waterways Authority Act, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other prevailing statutes, the 1st and 2nd Defendants are the ones conferred with jurisdiction, authority or power of management or control over any federal navigable waterway in Nigeria, in particular the Lagos Lagoon, to the exclusion of the Lagos State Government.
  4. A DECLARATION that the 1st and 2nd Defendants are not entitled to surrender, relinquish, delegate or in any other manner confer their jurisdiction, authority or power over federal navigable
  5. waterways, in particular the Lagos and Lekki Lagoon, to the Lagos State Government, for the purpose of demanding, imposing and collecting any toll fee, road tax or any other fee, from the Applicant and other citizens of Nigeria, for the use and enjoyment of such federal navigable waterway.
  6. A DECLARATION that under the National Inland Waterways Authority Act, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other prevailing statutes, the Defendants are not entitled to collect toll, tax or fee from the applicant and other citizens of Nigeria when carrying out their statutory responsibility of providing road and other infrastructures for their citizens.
  7. A DECLARATION that the collection of tolls, tax, fee, money, tariff or any other fee howsoever described, by the defendants, on any road, from the Applicant and other citizens of Nigeria constitutes a contravention of the Applicant’s (and other citizen’s) fundamental right to free movement.
  8. A DECLARATION that the imposition and collection of road tax, levy, toll fee or tariff from the Applicant and other residents and indigenes of Lekki Scheme 1, Ikoyi, Ajah, Ibeju-Lekki and Epe communities to have access to and use of the Admiralty-Ikoyi Suspension Bridge amounts to discrimination and therefore a flagrant violation of the Applicant’s (and those other residents and indigenes) fundamental rights as enshrined and guaranteed under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and is therefore null and void.
  9. A DECLARATION that the imposition of and collection of road tax, levy, toll fee or tariff from the Applicant, road users and other residents of the Lekki axis by the Defendants is an illegal form of taxation and is inconsistent with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, especially Chapter Four thereof.
  10. A DECLARATION that the Defendants are duty-bound to provide an alternative route to the Applicant and other citizens of Nigeria before they can commence the imposition and collection of road tax, levy, toll fee or tariff from the Applicant, road users and other citizens of Nigeria in respect of the Lekki-Admiralty-Ikoyi Suspended Bridge.
  11. A DECLARATION that the imposition of and collection of Five Hundred naira (N500.00) per trip per vehicle, by the Defendants, as road tax, levy, toll fee or tariff from the applicant, road users and other citizens of Nigeria, for an indeterminate period of time, for the use and enjoyment of the Lekki Admiralty-Ikoyi Suspended Bridge is arbitrary, exploitative, oppressive, inhuman and callous, in the circumstances of the economy of Nigeria and is therefore illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.
  12. INJUNCTION restraining the defendants, whether by themselves, their servants, officers, agents, banks, private or otherwise howsoever, from demanding, collecting, receiving any money, fee, toll, tariff, tax or any such levy from the applicant or any other citizen of Nigeria for the use and enjoyment of any part or portion of the Admiralty-Ikoyi Suspended Bridge.”
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