To ensure their optimal performance, the Federal Government plans to concession all its jetties to private operators next year.
The Lagos Area Manager, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Mr Muhammed Sambo, told reporters that the government took the decision to boost waterways transportation and generate more revenue.
He spoke at a sensitization programme to attract investors into waterways transportation.
Sambo said: “If you have more efficient facilities, it is expected that you will generate more money apart from providing comfort for users and that is the essence of the concessioning.”
He said NIWA did not have any company in mind to take up the business, adding that the plan is to provide a level playing field for participants, especially those in the water transport business.
The lingering face off between NIWA and the Lagos State government, he said, would not affect the jetties’ concessioning, adding that the facilities belong to the government.
He said: “NIWA wants to provide efficient and first class facilities that are owned by the Federal Government, therefore, I don’t see any friction that can stop it,” he stressed.
He criticized the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LAWSA), describing it as a creation of the Lagos State House of Assembly, which purported to repeal the NIWA Act, in order for it to be in existence.
The question is, can a state House of Assembly repeal a federal legislation? Thus to that extent, we do not have any relationship with LASWA.
“We are in a federation and where a law of any federal constituent is in conflict with a federal law, the state laws remain null and void.”
Despite the face-off with the state over some facilities in the metropolis, the concession holds next year.
He said there must be a common goal for the Federal and state governments to develop an effective water transport system.
Lagos, he said, should obtain permit from NIWA to set up a jetty on its own Lagoon.
“While we concede the right of the governor to express his opinion as it relates to Inland Waterways in Lagos, we wish to draw the attention of His Excellency to the fact that where he is dissatisfied with the valid Federal law establishing the national Inland Waterways Authority, especially as it concerns the authority’s function and regulatory control over rivers, creeks, lagoon and lakes, other bodies of internal waters of Nigeria, the only alternative is the court of law and not otherwise,” he said: A few weeks ago, Governor Babatunde Fashola said Lagos did not need to obtain permit from the Federal Government to operate a jetty.
He said his administration had the right to build the Lekki bridge without recourse to the government since “we are run a federal system of government.