The Lagos State Government and the state’s House of Assembly have disputed the existence of roads known as federal highways in the state.
They argue that no law designating roads as federal highways is in place and that any declaration by any minister is unconstitutional.
The state government and the Assembly canvassed this argument in their separate written addresses filed in opposition to a suit by commercial motorcyclists, popularly called okada riders, before a Lagos High Court in Ikeja.
The Okada riders, under the aegis of All Nigerians Autobike Commercial Owners and Workers Association, are through their suit, seeking an order of the court restraining the government from prohibiting their operations on the federal highways.
The Assembly, represented by a former Attorney-General of the state, Prof. Yemi Osibajo, SAN, is the second respondent in the suit, while the government and the Attorney-General of the state, Mr. Ade Ipaye, are the first and third respondents respectively.
Osinbajo argued that the Constitution only empowered the National Assembly to designate roads as “federal trunk roads” and that failure of the federal legislature to do so amounted to the fact that there was no any valid regulation backing such declaration.
He said the power delegated to the “Minister” by the National Assembly by virtue of Section 25 of the Federal Highways Act to declare road as “federal highways” was unconstitutional.
He said, “It is further submitted that only the National Assembly has the power to declare any road as a federal trunk road under the constitution and it has not done so.
“As required by part III paragraph 1 to the second schedule, the National Assembly can only designate or declare a road as federal trunk road either by an Act or a resolution passed by both houses of the National Assembly.
“Accordingly, the 2nd defendant urges this court to hold that the House of Assembly validly exercised its powers to make law in respect of these highways.”
“Again, the purported delegation of power under section 25 of the Act is invalid to the extent that it is ultra vires of the legislative competence of the National Assembly.
Toeing the same line of argument, Ipaye, representing his office and the state government, argued in his 55-paragraph written address, “It is our humble submission that to the extent that the National Assembly has not designated any road as federal highway, any purported declaration by a Minister is unconstitutional and I will respectfully urge the honourable court to so find and hold.
Justice Aishat Opesanwo has fixed November 16 for the hearing.