Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode on Tuesday expressed excitement at the judgment of Appeal Court in Lagos which set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court empowering the Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) to regulate transportation and sand dredging in the State, saying that the development would go a long way to aid the efforts of the State Government in abating flood in the State.
The Appellate Court had, on July 18, 2017, allowed the Appeal of the State Government and set aside the judgment of the lower court.
Speaking while swearing-in the newly democratically elected Chairmen and Vice Chairmen of the 20 Local Government Areas and 37 Local Council Development Areas in the State held at Adeyemi Bero Auditorium in Alausa, Governor Ambode described the judgment as a major success in the quest of the State Government to control its resources and enshrine the true spirit of Fiscal Federalism.
He said with the judgment, the era of uncontrolled dredging is now over in the State as the State Government would now take firm control over its inland waterways and the adjoining lands including all sand dredging activities.
“I am delighted to inform you that the State Government has recorded a major success in its quest to control its resources and enshrine the true spirit of Fiscal Federalism. Last week on 18th July 2017, the Court of Appeal Lagos Division allowed the Appeal of the Lagos State Government and set aside the Federal High Court Judgment which gave the Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority to regulate transportation and sand dredging.
“The era of uncontrolled dredging is over and this serves as a clear warning that the Lagos State Government will now take firm control over its inland waterways and the adjoining lands including all sand dredging activities. This will further aid our efforts in abating flood in the State,” Governor Ambode said.
Addressing the new council chiefs at a well-attended event which witnessed attendance of key party leaders as well as families, friends and well-wishers, Governor Ambode said with the successful completion of Local Government election which held last Saturday, his administration has, once again, demonstrated total commitment to deepen democratic values and good governance at the grassroots.
The Governor said his administration recognized the importance of government at the Local Government level as a vibrant and effective system at the third tier of government was critical towards ensuring government of inclusion where everybody has a voice, adding that it was gratifying that the chain of government linking the Wards, Councils and LGAs to the State Government had been completed.
He particularly congratulated the leaders of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State and the new council bosses on their victory at the polls, as well as the Chairman and members of staff of the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) for delivering a free, fair and credible election
“My greatest commendation goes to all Lagosians especially those who defied the rains on Saturday to perform their civic responsibility. The hallmark of democracy is the participation of the people through the free exercise of their franchise to elect the people they want to represent them. This is the true source of legitimate mandate to lead a people,” Governor Ambode said.
To the newly-elected Chairmen, Governor Ambode said having crossed the hurdle of the election, they must now settle down for real governance especially by working hard and fulfilling all electoral promises.
He said: “At the State level, so much is being done to harness the potentials of our State and make it a preferred destination for local/foreign investors and tourists. We are implementing policies and programmes that will promote socio-economic activities and maximise the economic potentials of the three Senatorial zones of the State. This is in line with our commitment to ensure inclusive growth and create opportunities for wealth and job creation.
“As you (council chiefs) settle down to the business of governance, you must bear in mind that the participation of the people in governance does not end with elections. The people must be carried along and given the opportunity to have a say in policy making process and implementation. It is from you that we get the feedback of the people. You must be accountable and transparent in the management of the resources put in your care for the benefit of the people.”
Besides, Governor Ambode warned the council chiefs against all forms of discrimination, saying that the dividends of good governance must not only be fairly distributed to all people without prejudice to political affiliation, gender, religious beliefs or ethnic background, but also the cosmopolitan nature of the State must be factored into all decisions.
Earlier in his welcome address, Secretary to the State Government, Mr Tunji Bello said the development confirms that democratic institution is strong and consolidating in the State, just as he urged the new council chiefs to build vigorously on the landmark achievements of Governor Ambode by ensuring that laudable developmental projects are also felt at the grassroots.
Responding on behalf of the new Chairmen and Vice Chairmen, Chairman of Lagos Island East Local Government, Hon Kamal Bashua thanked Governor Ambode and the people of the State as well as the leadership of APC for the opportunity to serve, assuring that they would not disappoint the people but hit the ground running.