Law Exempts Military From Paying Airports, Other Toll Fee

The Armed Forces Act Cap A20 of 2024 exempts military personnel from paying tolls and parking fees at airports, wharfs, and other such spaces.
The Act also exempts members of the armed forces and their vehicles from paying parking or anchoring fees, and tolls on roads and bridges.
The minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development ,Festus Keyamo, announced on May 14, 2024 that President Bola Tinubu and Vice President Senator Kashim Shettima will now pay airport access toll and parking fees at any of the nation’s airports.
Keyamo, who announced this after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, stated that the government was losing more than 82 percent of the revenue it should have earned from the e-tags providing airport access.
The FEC chaired by President Tinubu approved a memorandum from the Ministry of Aviation scrapping toll exemptions for all Very Important Persons (VIPs) and government officials using the airports.
He explained that the memoranda had initially recommended an exemption for the president and the vice president, that the president overruled the recommendation and insisted that he, the VP and their aides must pay the tolls.
However, Part 20 of the Act, entitled “General Provisions Privileges and Exemptions for Members of the Forces”, Schedule No. 235 on exemption from tolls, etc, states  that, “Duties or tolls for embarking from or disembarking from any port, wharf, quay or landing place in Nigeria, or for passing over any road, ferry or bridge in Nigeria shall not be payable in respect of members of the Armed Forces on duty, or vehicles in the service of the Armed Forces, being vehicles belonging to the federal government or other vehicles driven by persons (whether a member of the Forces or not) in the public service of the federation, or goods carried in those vehicles or in aircraft belonging to the federal government or horses or other animals in the service of Armed Forces
The law further stipulates that “Harbour dues or other charges for entering, leaving and anchoring, or mooring in a harbour or port in Nigeria shall not be payable in respect of an aircraft, a naval ship or vessel belonging to the federal government.”
The Act further states that “No judgment, decree or order given or made against a member of the Forces by a court in Nigeria shall be enforced by the levying of execution on the property of the person against whom it is given or made, being public property, used by him for service purposes.’’
Some lawyers say if the law bars them from paying toll, it should be respected.
According to them, the law should be prioritised over the government’s policy.
Barrister David Apoka said the government policy cannot override the law.
He said, “If the military are saying that their laws exempt them from toll fees, I think that should be respected.”
Also, a legal practitioner, Mr. Seidu Muse, said no institution should be bigger than the law that establishes it.
According to him, laws should be respected for all to have a sane society.
“Policy of government cannot override an established law. If the Military are saying their laws bar them from payment of toll fees, that law should be respected,” he said.

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