Justice Saliu Saidu of the federal high court in Lagos will on April 25 decide whether to grant a stay of execution of its judgment stopping the Lagos State government from collecting toll on the Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge.
Justice Saidu fixed the date yesterday after entertaining arguments from the attorney general of Lagos State, Ade Ipaye and the plaintiff in the matter, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa.
It would be recalled that the court had barred the state government from further collecting toll on the Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge, holding that the collection is illegal.
The court had further held in the judgment that although the state has power to generate revenue from the bridge, the existing law does not cover such revenue drive.
Joined as first and second respondents in the suit are the attorney general of the federation (AGF) and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA).
At yesterday’s proceedings, both Ipaye and Adegboruwa gave different interpretation of the judgement.
While Adegboruwa accused the government of continually violating the judgment of the court with the continued toll collection on the bridge, Ipaye maintained that the court never made any declarative or consequential order barring toll collection on the bridge.
While arguing his application, the Lagos AG prayed the court to stay execution of the judgment, pending the determination of an appeal the state has filed before the court of appeal.
Ipaye also sought for an order of injunction restraining the third and fourth respondents, from giving effect to the judgment, in order to abide the appellate court’s decision.
Ipaye noted that the applicant had filed and conducted the suit in his personal capacity, adding that a stay would not be injurious to him.
“The respondent (Adegboruwa) has also filed a cross-appeal, and the cross-appeal is to the effect that there was no court order. I wonder why he is suggesting that we are the only one saying so,” he said.
He argued that after the court’s judgment on March 27, Adegboruwa had immediately proceeded to the bridge and had sought to use it without paying toll, adding that there was no express order of court preventing toll.
Responding, Adegboruwa urged the court to dismiss the application for been incompetent stating that a prayer for stay of execution of a judgment, and a motion for injunction, cannot abide in the same application, adding that the practice was novel.
Adegboruwa said, “The reliefs sought by the respondents, are equitable in nature, and whoever must come to equity, must come with clean hands.
“The action of the respondents creates an impression in the minds of Nigerians, that there was no court order, and so, if this application is granted, it will simply validate the confusion already created”
The lawyer therefore submitted that it was impossible for the court to over rule itself with respect to the pending judgment, since there was no need to justify the collection of illegal toll.
He therefore urged the court to hold, that even where there existed exceptional circumstances for granting such application, it should be over ruled following the disobedience of the respondents.