A group under the aegis of Motorcycle Transport Union of Nigeria, has dragged the Lagos State Government to court over the recent clampdown of activities of commercial motorcycles, popularly called Okada in the state.
The group which is seeking for the reversal of the ban sued the government before the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos
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.
It also includes Abayomi Adegbite, Oluwaseyi Funmi, Mohammed Kadi, Abdullahi Jigla, Nora Usman, Pastor Emmanuel Donatus, Sanni Abubakar and Nwibo Sunday.
The defendants include Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Moyosore Onigbanjo SAN, Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Alabi, Lagos State Task Force, Lagos State and Commissioner for Transport, Dr Fredric Oladeinde.
In the suit numbered FHC/L/CS/1016/2022, the applicants prayed 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 to hear provided for and encapsulated in Section 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.”
The applicants also sought f declaration that the ban of the business of commercial motorcyclists 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.
Alternatively, they prayed 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, he stated 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 added that during the regime of the former Governor, Babatunde Fashola, SAN, the union was engaged by the government on how to regulate their operation in the state, including issuing identification cards to members and others.
Donatus maintained that by regulating the activities and operations of the riders, motorcycle related crimes will be reduced.
However, the suit was yet to be assigned as of press time.