The Appeal Court, Lagos Division has ruled that the Lagos State government has power of the local governments to generate revenues from private car parks and car lots within the state.
At a ruling delivered by Justice Y. O. Idowu, the Appellate Court dismissed an appeal filed by a telecommunication firm, Airtel Network Limited against the judgment of the Lagos State High Court which had earlier asserted the state government’s power to raise revenues for local governments in Lagos State.
The Appellate Court, in the appeal numbered CA/L/311/2013, specifically sustained the arguments of the Attorney General of Lagos State, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem against Airtel’s appeal and held that the judgment of the Lagos High Court which had earlier dismissed the appellant’s (Airtel’s) Originating Summons of 2nd February, 2011, was in order.
The appellant (Airtel) had operated a private parking lot within the jurisdiction of the third respondent (Eti-Osa Local Government) and had restricted the local government from collecting levies to public motor parks.
The appellant had also sought the court’s determination on whether the third Respondent ( Eti-Osa Local Government) has power to enact its Parking and Control of Traffic Bye-Laws as a basis to impose a parking permit fee on the appellant.
But in a counter-submission, the Lagos State Attorney General represented by Akinkunmi Idowu, a director in the State Ministry of Justice, had argued that the Lagos State House of Assembly enacted the Local Government (Administration) Law (as amended) pursuant to Section 7 of the Constitution and that the 3rd Respondent was given powers to make its own Bye-Laws.
In the relevant Bye-Law – the Eti-Osa Local Government Parking and Control of Traffic Bye-Laws (N0.7) of 2002, Section 4(e) states that the Local Government shall issue permits on private parking development.
Also, Section 7 of the same Bye-Law, which is the interpretation Section of the Bye-Law, states that approved Car Park includes motor parks, private parking lots, or any other place so designated by the Local Government.
After reviewing the arguments of both parties, the Appeal Court ruled that the local government functions were not exhaustive and do not fall outside the scope of Section 7(5) and Schedule 4 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as Amended), as the provisions were clear and not inconsistent.
The court further held that it was unable to agree with the appellant that the 3rd Respondent does not have power to regulate/make law that relates to private parking since there is nothing in the Bye-Law that is inconsistent with Section 7 and Paragraph 1 of the Fourth Schedule to the Constitution.
“In view of the foregoing, this appeal is hereby dismissed and the decision of the lower court is affirmed,” the court ruled.