Following the ban and enforcement, a commercial motorcycle riders’ union, popularly called “Okada” has sued the Lagos State Government before the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.
The union, under the umbrella of the Motorcycle Transport Union of Nigeria, MTUN, and others in the suit 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.
It also includes Abayomi Adegbite, Oluwaseyi Funmi, Mohammed Kadi, Abdullahi Jigla, Nora Usman, Pastor Emmanuel Donatus, Sanni Abubakar, and Nwibo Sunday.
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 are the defendants.
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, the deponent 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.
LASG set to crush seized okada
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Government
has concluded plans to crush the over 140 Okada seized across the metropolis during enforcement since the commencement of the ban on operations.
The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, disclosed this while giving an update on the enforcement so far.
Omotoso, who commended the cooperation of residents on the ban, urged commuters to patronize small buses, under the First Mile and Last Mile Scheme, which have been rolled out extensively as an alternative mode of transportation to cushion the effects of the ban.
According to the commissioner: “Wishes to put on record the remarkable cooperation of Lagosians on the commercial motorcycles ban, which took effect today in six local governments.
“The compliance was significant in Surulere, Apapa, Eti-Osa, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, and Ikeja. It is the first phase of the ban, which was announced on May 18 by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, following security and safety concerns.’
Omotoso assured residents and visitors of Governor Sanwo-Olu’s administration not to leave them to their own devices; it “will continue to work towards the achievement of an efficient intermodal transportation system (water, rail, and road) that will be the pride of all “
He noted that Lagos residents stayed off the motorcycles, as the government rolled out alternatives to cushion the likely effects of the ban in many areas.
According to Omotoso, “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.
“Several taxi cabs 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.
“Law enforcement agencies seized many motorcycles. They will all be crushed on Friday in the presence of the media.”
Also, the enforcement which recorded a high level of compliance on the first day, Wednesday, June 1, was relaxed on Thursday, June 2, 2022, as Okada riders returned to some roads in the metropolis to resume their operations undisturbed by security agents.
Concerned residents were amazed at the daring return of the Okada riders in the early hours of Thursday in some parts of the state which include: Apapa, Mile-2, Ikeja, Lagos Island, and environs.
Following public outcry, Sanwo-Olu had ban Okada activities in six Local Government Areas, LGA and nine Local Council Development Areas, LCDAs, which are: Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, Ikeja, Apapa, Eti-Osa, and Surulere and nine LCDAs attached to the LGAs.
LASG makes U-turn over Alaba-Rago quit notice order
Meanwhile, Governor Sanwo-Olu was said to have reversed 14 days quit notice ultimatum given to traders at the Alaba-Rago Market, in Ojo Local Government Area, to continue with their legitimate business pending a formal agreement and development plan being considered by the traders.
A joint team of Rapid Response Squad, RRS, and Lagos Task Force, had recently issued a 14 Day ultimatum to traders to quit the market to pave way for the proposed redevelopment project.
According to a statement made available to newsmen quoted that the decision was made following the intervention of Fulani traditional leader Dr Mohammed Abubakar Bambado II the Sarkin Fulani of Lagos and Chairman Council of Fulani chiefs South West having met and discussed with Governor Sanwo Olu on behalf of the traders of Alaba-Rago.
Pending further determination, and “Considering the plea, His Excellency Mr Governor on behalf of the Lagos State government reversed its earlier pronouncement and allow the traders in Alaba-Rago to continue their legitimate business,” a source told newsmen.
When contacted, Omotoso was yet to respond to calls as well as messages sent to his mobile phone for comment as of press time.