The Lagos State government and the federal government yesterday signed an agreement for cooperation regarding the control of waterways, thereby ending the dispute between the two governments.
The state governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, ratified the agreement yesterday at the State House, Alausa.
The dispute started over 10 years ago between NIWA and Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) with both parties locking horns in a protracted legal battle.
With the new agreement, both parties will now have a joint responsibility to ensure safety, harmonise tariffs and monitor regulations on the waterways.
After signing the agreement, Sanwo-Olu said the development implied the unlocking of investment in water transportation, which is one of the cardinal projects of his administration.
He described the treaty as "right choice" to end the long-drawn-out rift, pointing out that the ceremony was a testimony to the benefits the citizens could gain when agencies of government agree to collaborate.
"I congratulate these two agencies of government that have found it right to collaborate. This is one of the progresses we have made to promote ease of doing business and as regulators, we must always find a way to close our differences in order to convince investors and private sector.
On his part, Mamora said the agreement was signed in good faith and in the best interest of the people, noting that the previous administration in the state prepared the groundwork for collaboration between NIWA and LASWA.
The NIWA boss said Sanwo-Olu's anxiousness to see the end of the dispute led to the agreement, which would result in increased surveillance on waterways, harmony in tariffs and regulations.
"We don't need the court to intervene in ensuring safety on waterways and protecting the rights of our people and avoiding multiple taxation, which discourage investors. These are the areas we are partnering on. This agreement shows that we care for our people, particularly the users of the waterways.
"This agreement means better life for our people. What we have signed today will promote better working relationship and collaboration for the good of our people. Our desire is to see the possibility of settling out of court, because this disagreement has been on for over 10 years.
"The most important thing is that, once we have this understanding, we won't have issues. Investors, too, would be free to come in, since they know there is no friction and restrictions again."