Lagos parking charge illegal, should be withdrawn

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana SAN, has criticized the government of Lagos state over the introduction of the parking charge in the state.

Falana described the policy on Sunday as illegal and urged the state government to withdraw it without delay.

The Lagos State Parking Authority had stated in a letter to the food and snack company that it had charged the company N290,000 for the off-site parking lot.

According to the letter, the food company was ordered to pay N80,000 each per year for the three parking spaces, as well as a non-refundable administrative processing fee of N50,000.

But the move drew backlash from several individuals and groups, including the People’s Democratic Party, which described it as a plot to milk residents to “finance the individual ambition of one man who had held the state and his people by the jugular vein” .

In a statement, the agency’s general manager, Adebisi Adelabu, described the allegation as reckless and mischievous, adding that the agency was established under the Lagos State Transport Reform Law 2019 and a 2019 State Assembly Act to prohibit parking. manage operations and change the state’s parking culture by implementing policies consistent with international parking standards.

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But Falana said the Lagos State Parking Authority was illegal because the state government did not have the constitutional authority to create a body to manage parks under the current democratic dispensation.

“Under Section 7 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, it is the exclusive constitutional responsibility of local governments to establish and maintain motorcycle parks in any of the states of the federation. In addition, it is the exclusive responsibility of the local government agencies to establish and maintain parks, gardens, open spaces or public facilities as may be prescribed by the House of Representatives,” he added.

According to the human rights lawyer, instead of prescribing how the parks and gardens should be managed by local governments, the House of Representatives illegally established the Lagos State Parking Authority to manage parks and gardens in the state.

He said that since the Lagos State Parking Authority was an illegal creation, it lacked the constitutional powers to set and collect parking fees from residents of the state in “any way and by any means”.

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He added that the attention of the Lagos State House of Assembly should have been drawn to the constitutional anomaly.

Falana added: “In particular, the House should be requested to set the engine in motion for the immediate repeal of the Lagos State Parking Act, which was unlawfully enacted to ‘confuse with powers and functions everything related to parking and its related purposes. consolidate’ states that the Authority is responsible, among other things, for all forms of managed parking in the state’.

“The policy of the government of Babajide Sanwoolu to move Lagos State towards a 21st century economy must comply with the provisions of Section 7 of the Constitution and its Fourth Schedule.

“In Aitel Nigeria Limited v Attorney-General of Lagos State & Three Others (2019) 1 NCLR 1, the Lagos State High Court ruled that the ordinance authorizing the Eti Osa Local Government Area to collect parking fees from the plaintiff was in order. The plaintiff, who disagreed with the ruling, appealed to the court.

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“In dismissing the appeal and upholding the lower court’s ruling, the court held that it could not agree with the plaintiff that the third defendant has no jurisdiction to legislate on private parking. as there was nothing in the way. law contrary to Section 7 and Paragraph 1 of the Fourth Annex to the Constitution.

“The Government of Lagos State and all other authorities, as well as other persons, are bound by the valid and lasting judgment of the Court of Appeal regarding the exclusive competence of local governments to regulate and collect parking fees in Lagos State. To that extent, the alleged parking charge set by the Lagos State Parking Authority cannot be justified under Article 7 of the Constitution. It must be withdrawn without delay.”

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