Commercial motorcyclists, popularly known as Okada riders on Monday dragged the Lagos State Government to court over its new Road Traffic Law, part of which restricts their operations on major highways across the state.
The okada riders under the aegis of All Nigerians Autobike Commercial Owners and Workers Association, is seeking an order of court restraining the state government from prohibiting them from operating on the major highways listed in Items 1-11 and other parts of Schedule II of the New Traffic Law.
In the suit No ID/713M/2012 filed through their lawyer, Bamidele Aturu, the claimant is also asking the court to restrain the Lagos state government from molesting, harassing, arresting, seizing their motorcycles or subjecting them to any treatment not suffered by any other road users.
Joined in the suit alongside the Lagos State Government are the state Attorney-General and Lagos State House of Assembly.
The claimants also asked the court to declare that the New Traffic Law constitutes an unjustifiable violation of the right to freedom of movement of the Claimants and their members guaranteed by section 41(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.
They also asked the court to declare that the new Law constitutes a violation of the defendants’ means of livelihood as well as adequate opportunity to secure suitable employment for them as provided for in Section 17(3) (a) of the Constitution.
The okada riders asked the court to declare that the major highways listed in Items 1-11 and other parts of Schedule II of the New Traffic Law in which okada operations are restricted are Federal Trunk or Highway Roads within the meaning of the Federal Highways Act, cap F13, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
They also asked the court for a declaration that the defendants have no power whatsoever to make any law to regulate traffic on any of the Federal Trunk or Highway Roads listed in Schedule II to the Lagos State Road Traffic Law, No 4 of 2012 and in the Federal Highways Act, cap F13, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
In addition they sought a declaration that the provisions of that section 3(1) of the Lagos State Road Traffic Law, No 4 of 2012 to the extent that it prohibits the riding, driving or propelling of a cart, wheel barrow, motorcycle or tricycle on the Major Highways in Lagos listed in Items 1-11 and other parts of Schedule II is in fundamental conflict with section 4(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended and is therefore ultra vires, illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional, null, void, oppressive, inoperative and of no effect whatsoever.
The claimants further asked the court to order directing the defendants to immediately release all motorcycles belonging to them and their members seized by and in the custody of the Defendants and their agents and or officers.