The Nigerian Federal High Court sitting in Lagos today granted the stay of execution application filed by the Lagos State Government in respect of an earlier judgment delivered on the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge Case.
The Federal High Court had recently ordered the Lagos State Government to stop collecting tolls on the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge in the case filed by a legal practitioner and activist, Ebun Adegoruwa. The government filed an appeal at the Appeal Court asking the court to set aside the ealier judgment delivered in favour of Adegoruwa and filed another application at the Federal High Court asking for a stay of execution of the order stopping it from collecting toll on the bridge pending the determination of the case before the Appeal Court.
Justice Saliu Saidu in his ruling, in respect of the application filed on behalf of the State by the Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaye, held that the application was meritorious.
The Court further held that Lagos State Government has shown that exceptional circumstances existed that warranted granting a stay of its judgment pending the determination of the appeal filed against the judgment by the Lagos State Government.
The Court overruled the argument of Mr. Adegboruwa that the application should not be granted because the State was in contempt of court for not stopping the tolling on the bridge. According to the Judge, a party who is appealing against a judgment of court could not be said to be in contempt of the Court. The Court held that to the extent that Lagos State has a competent appeal before the Appellate Court, the State Government’s continued tolling was not contemptuous of court. The Federal High Court had on March 27, 2014 delivered a judgment in the case instituted by a legal practitioner, Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa to challenge the legality of construction and tolling of the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge.
Both the Lagos State Government and Mr. Adegboruwa had expressed their dissatisfaction with the judgment on the ground that the judgment did not specifically address many of the questions raised by the Applicant, neither did it grant any of the declarations sought. No specific or direct order was made.
Consequently, both parties filed their Notice of Appeal and Notice of Cross-Appeal against the judgment respectively.
Commenting on the ruling of the Court, Ipaye expressed satisfaction that the seemingly wrong impression that was created in some quarters by the initial judgment has been clarified with the Court granting a stay of its earlier decision. The Attorney General confirmed the readiness of the State Government to prosecute its appeal expeditiously and he enjoined Lagosians to continue to partner with the Government in overcoming the infrastructural and development challenges in the State.