By Michael Ojo
A Lagos-based lawyer, Olukoya Ogungbeje, has asked the Federal High Court in Lagos to reverse the ban imposed by the Lagos State Government on the operations of commercial tricycles and motorcycles, commonly known as okada, in parts of the state.
In a suit filed before Justice Mohammed Liman, Ogungbeje is urging the court to declare that the execute ban on commercial tricycles and okada issued by the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in February was not backed by any court order and grossly violated Section 41 of the constitution.
The lawyer contended that the ban had visited untold hardship on him and other law-abiding Nigerians living in Lagos.
He wants the court to declare that “the forceful impounding, seizure or confiscation of motorcycles and tricycles” by agents of the Lagos State Government amounted to an infringement on the right of residents to own property under sections 43 and 44 of the constitution.
He also prayed the court to declare that the power given to agents of the state, under the Lagos State Transport Sector Reform Law 2018, to arrest and punish violators of the ban was tantamount to an usurpation of the functions of the judiciary “and is thus a gross infringement on the right to fair hearing and human dignity under sections 36 and 34 of the constitution.”
He wants the court to make a perpetual injunction restraining the Lagos State Government from enforcing the ban and also prayed the court to award N500m as general and exemplary damages against the state for the alleged violation of citizens’ rights.
Joined as defendants in the suit are the Lagos State Government; Lagos State Task Force on Environmental and Special Offences Unit; Lagos State Traffic Management Authority; the state’s Attorney General; Commissioner of Police in Lagos State; the Vehicle Inspection Service; and the Lagos State Ministry of Transportation.
Justice Liman has adjourned hearing till September 28, 2020.