As Lagos State lawmakers urge compliance with the state’s Car Parking law, the Human Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) Resource Centre has given them seven days ultimatum to repeal the law or face litigation.
HEDA disclosed this on Sunday in Lagos in a letter written to Mr Mudashiru Obasa, the Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, and copied to the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, during the week.
The HEDA Chairman, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju, said that it was unconstitutional for the roles and functions of managing Car Parks to be under the purview of the state government.
He said that the onus rested exclusively on the local government as enshrined in Section 4 of the Lagos State Parking Authority Law which provides thus:
“Develop truck parks, bus parks, garages, multi-level parking lots, on and off-street parking spaces throughout the state; to implement the policy and directives of the state government on parking and parking lots; to take necessary steps to prevent indiscriminate or illegal parking of vehicles in collaboration with the relevant government agencies.
“Others are to provide, to Operate and maintain parking metres for the purposes of this part; to provide and maintain proper records containing particulars of each impounded vehicle, and the designated vehicle park in which it is kept; Issue permits for development of private parking facilities.
“The Section also spelt out: To Register members of recognised transport unions or associations as may be recommended by the union as agents under this part; to provide private park operators with tickets to be used at the Parks.
“To regulate the activities of private parks operators by issuing appropriate guidelines which shall include provision of approved kitting for the parking agents; to charge fees on private commercial parks; to charge and collect fees on parking lots, or any facility provided by it; and Review parking fees charged by the Authority.
“Section 5 of the above mentioned law also purported to empower each Local Government Area with the power to delegate its functions with respect to parking activities to the state government.’’
Suraju reminded the legislators that the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) remains the supreme law in the country and its provisions are binding on all authorities and persons throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He drew the attention of the Speaker and members of the House of Section 1(e) of the Fourth Schedule of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) which provides that the main functions of a local government council are: to establish, maintain and regulate slaughter houses, slaughter slabs, markets, motor parks and public conveniences.
“From the above constitutional provisions, it is clear, direct and unambiguous that the power to regulate all parks and parking activities in a state is the exclusive function of the local government council and not the state government.
“Hence, the Lagos State Parking Authority Law of Lagos State is totally unconstitutional and by virtue of Section 1(3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), we demand that the Lagos State Parking Authority Law be repealed immediately,’’ he said.
He added that the purported delegation of its (Local government Council) constitutional function to the state government in respect of parking activities as stated in Section 5 of the Lagos State Parking Authority Law has been declared impossible by the Court of Appeal. Ref: In the case of Oluwabukola v. AG Lagos State (2022) 2 NWLR (pt. 1815) 499 @ 571 the Court held thus:
“… if it is a pure delegation, the issue will arise whether any inferior tier of government in this instance, the local government, can delegate any power or function to the superior being, the state.
“The law on that is clear and settled. That is not allowed in law as delegation is usually done by a superior to an inferior.
“By the above constitutional and case law authorities, we hereby demand that the Lagos State House of Assembly forthwith begin the legislative process to repeal the Lagos State Parking Authority Law as the Law is inconsistent with the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
“If our demand is not attended to within seven (7) days of receipt of this letter, we shall not hesitate to approach the court for an order, declaring the Lagos State Parking Authority Law as illegal and unconstitutional.
“Be assured of our continuous support and co-operation in promoting good governance,’’ Suraju added.