The Lagos State Government and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) on Monday expressed readiness to go into talks to facilitate amicable resolution of the age-long tussle between the federal agency and the Lagos State Inland Waterways Authority (LASWA) over regulation and control of the waterways.
The State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, who said this while receiving NIWA’s Managing Director, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora and top management staff of the agency on courtesy visit at Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja, said putting the perennial conflict between NIWA and LASWA behind was the most patriotic thing to do, and that it would be in the best interest of all, especially the economic prosperity of the people.
He said without prejudice to the matter currently before the Supreme Court on the issue, the State Government nonetheless was ready to implement strategies to engender peaceful resolution of the grey areas and points of conflict in the overall interest of the people.
The governor said it was particularly instructive and beneficial that NIWA was being headed at this particular point in time by Mamora, just as he expressed optimism that the development would translate to the end of hostilities that had been going on for decades between the federal agency and LASWA.
According to him, “We are doing this not just for ourselves; we are doing it for Nigeria and Lagos. I believe strongly that the appointment of Senator Mamora is divine and even prior to his assumption as MD of NIWA and ever since he has taken over, there has not been any major complaints from the controversy between the State Government and NIWA and we are very happy for this.
“Let me reiterate here that I give my total support for the amicable resolution of the issue irrespective of the legal tussle that we have been having over the decades and we also respect the rule of law. We know that whatever the decision of the Supreme Court, it would still have to be implemented by the operators and so I give my commitment and total cooperation that anything that is outstanding, we would resolve amicably.”
While commending the NIWA management for championing mutual relationship, the Governor directed key officers of the State Government to dialogue with the NIWA team with the view of coming up with structured approach to solidify the partnership.
“I give the go ahead to all my management team and key officers to sit down with the management team of NIWA. Whatever grey areas should be resolved. I think in the areas that we have talked about, issues relating to right of way, revenue and so on, we can resolve and I can observe that things have been very peaceful in these areas but we can document and put in proper shape to let other people also understand that we have moved forward progressively.
“The approach the NIWA MD has taken is commendable because once we continue to dialogue, it is for the peace and prosperity of Nigerians and not about ourselves and once we are able to get that as the main objective, I think every other thing will just fall in place. We are one government and one nation and there is no reason why we should not create progress and prosperity for Nigerians and I think this is what the renewed relationship is out to achieve,” Ambode said.
Earlier, Mamora said his team was at Lagos House to raise the bar for the good of the people by amicably resolving issues relating to waterways transportation, right of way of waterfront and sensitization of waterway users on the need to always fully comply with waterways transportation code.
Mamora, who is a former Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly and Senator representing Lagos East at the Senate, also commended Governor Ambode for his achievements in office, saying posterity would be kind to him.
“With this reception, I want to highly commend your Excellency and this is highly appreciated because you have taken very bold step forward and we can always rely on your support. I also stand here to commend what you have done for Lagos State and for your achievements, I am sure posterity will judge you right,” Mamora said.