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Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge: Court rules on stay April 25

By on April 16, 2014

A Federal High Court in Lagos Monday fixed April 25 to decide whether or not to grant a stay of execution on its judgment over the tolling on the Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge.

Justice Saliu Saidu reserved ruling on the issue after hearing the arguments on an application for stay of execution of judgment filed by the Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaye.

A human rights activist, Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, had filed a suit on November 26, 2012, against the state government, challenging the collection of toll on the bridge.

Joined as first and second respondents in the suit are the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA).

Ipaye and the state government were listed as third and fourth respondents respectively.

Justice Saidu had in a judgment delivered on March 27, held that the imposition of such toll was unlawful, since there was no law in existence, authorising its collection.

The judge had held that there was nothing before the court to show that the construction of the bridge was as a result of any Public Private Partnership (PPP) law, since the bridge was built with funds of the state government.

Saidu had therefore held that the state government can only validly collect toll on the bridge if a law is enacted to give validity to such toiling.

Adopting his motion yesterday, Ipaye urged the court to stay execution of its judgment, pending the determination of an appeal before the Court of Appeal.

He also sought an order of injunction restraining the third and fourth respondents, from giving effect to the judgment, in order to abide the appellate court’s decision.

Ipaye noted that the applicant had filed and conducted the suit in his personal capacity, adding that a stay would not be injurious to him.
He argued that after the court’s judgment on March 27, Adegboruwa had immediately proceeded to the bridge and had sought to use it without paying toll, adding that there was no express order of court preventing toll.

Ipaye argued that Adegboruwa had also filed a cross appeal before the appellate court, stressing that with such step, it was now important for status quo to maintained, until all issues are resolved by the apex court.

He therefore urged the court to so hold.
Adegboruwa in response, urged the court to dismiss the application for being incompetent.

He argued that a prayer for the stay of execution of a judgment, and a motion for injunction, cannot abide in the same application, adding that the practice was novel.

He argued that the respondents never obeyed the judgment of the court since its delivery on March 27, stressing that such practice constituted an affront to the judicial powers of the court.

Adegboruwa said: “The reliefs sought by the respondents, are equitable in nature, and whoever must come to equity, must come with clean hands.

“The action of the respondents creates an impression in the minds of Nigerians, that there was no court order, and so, if this application is granted, it will simply validate the confusion already created”

He therefore submitted that it was impossible for the court to over rule itself with respect to the pending judgment, since there was no need to justify the collection of illegal toll.

He therefore urged the court to hold, that even where there existed exceptional circumstances for granting such application, it should be over ruled following the disobedience of the respondents. Saidu fixed April 25 for ruling.



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