A commercial motorcycle (Okada) riders union has dragged the Lagos State government before the Federal High Court in Lagos.
The Trustees of Motorcycle Transport Union of Nigeria (MTUN) and others are praying for a declaration that the ban on okada is illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional.
Other applicants in the suit are Comrade Peter Umoh, Pastor Tony Onuoha, David Abiona, Adebayo Oluwasegun, Gambo Muhammed, Yakubu Abubakar, Ayo Boluwade, Amaechi Peter and Nwamiri Monday.
The rest are Abayomi Adegbite, Oluwaseyi Funmi, Mohammed Kadi, Abdullahi Jigla, Nora Usman, Pastor Emmanuel Donatus, Sanni Abubakar and Nwibo Sunday.
Lagos Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos State Task Force, Commissioner of Police, Lagos State and Commissioner for Transport, Lagos State are the defendants.
In the suit numbered FHC/L/CS/1016/2022, the applicants are praying the court for a declaration that the “purported proposed ban of the commercial motorcycle transportation in Lagos State by the governor, without hearing from the operators whose rights are affected or likely to be affected is a violation of the constitutional rights of the applicants to fear hearing, provided for and encapsulated in Section 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.”
The applicants also praying for a declaration that the ban of the business of commercial motorcycle transportation in Lagos by the government “is a violation of the rights of the applicants guaranteed by Section 33 of the 1999 Constitution as amended who cannot be alive without food and other means of sustenance and whose income is the business of commercial motorcycle transportation.”
In the alternative, they are praying the court to grant an order compelling the government to provide jobs for the teeming commercial motorcycle riders in the state.
In the affidavit in support of the application, sworn to by one Pastor Emmanuel Donatus, the deponent averred that he and other operators had no means of sustenance apart from the business of Okada.
They prayed the government to restrict Okada operations on major highways to “approved areas”, rather than banning their operations.
He also avered that during the regime of the former governor, Babatunde Fashola, SAN, his union was engaged by the government on how to regulate their operation in the state, including issuing identification cards to members and others.
He avered that by regulating the activities and operations of the riders, motorcycle related crimes will be reduced.
The suit is yet to be assigned.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Government, on Wednesday, announced it will crush commercial motorcycles called Okada, seized during enforcement.
A statement issued by the state’s Commissioner for Information, Gbenga Omotosho, said the motorcycles will be crushed on Friday.
“Law enforcement agencies seized many motorcycles today (Wednesday),” he said.
“They will all be crushed on Friday in the presence of the media.”
A fresh ban, which took effect on Wednesday, was imposed by the government following the mob attack that led to the death of David Imoh, a sound engineer in the Lekki area of the state.
The ban was imposed across six local government areas – Eti-Osa, Ikeja, Surulere, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, and Apapa and nine local government councils areas.
It’s not the first time the government would impose the measure. In January 2020, the government banned the operation of motorcyclists in 15 local councils across the state.
The ban, which is the first phase, was imposed following security and safety concerns, the commissioner said.
He said the state government has rolled out alternatives to cushion the effects of the ban in many areas.
“Many small buses, under the First Mile and Last Mile Scheme, were rolled out extensively in Surulere, Gbagada, Lekki, Lagos Island, and other parts of Lagos,” the statement reads.
“A number of taxicabs under the LAGRIDE scheme were deployed in Lagos Island, Ikeja, Surulere, Lekki and other places.
“The waterways were also busy as Lagos Ferry Services (LAGFERRY) put more ferries on their routes.”