Court Dismisses Suit Challenging Okada Ban in Lagos
Justice Akintayo Aluko of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has dismissed a suit by a Lagos resident challenging the Lagos State Government’s restriction of commercial motorcycles (Okada) and tricycles (Keke NAPEP) from some of its roads.
Justice Aluko held that the plaintiff, Julius Ajibulu, “failed woefully” in his bid to reverse the ban which has been in place since 2018.
The judge held that the plaintiff also failed, among others, to establish that the Lagos State government has no power to ban the operation of tricycles and motorcycles in respect of the designated roads in the state.
The judgment followed the plaintiff’s suit marked FHC/L/CS/1389/2020 against the Governor of Lagos State, Attorney General of Lagos State, Commissioner for Transportation and Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly as 1st to fourth defendants respectively.
Lagos State had on Monday, January 27, 2020, moved against commercial motorcycles (Okada) and tricycles (Keke NAPEP), proscribing their operations in six Local Government Areas (LGAs), nine Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) and 10 major highways across the state with effect from February 1, 2020.
The government directed security operatives to embark on a total enforcement of the State’s Transport Sector Reform Law of 2018 to immediately address the chaos and disorderliness created by illegal operations of Okada and tricycle riders in restricted areas.
The government also banned Okada and tricycles from plying 40 bridges and flyovers across the State.
But Ajibulu contended that sections 15, 16, 19, 46 and 68 of the Lagos State Transport Sector Reform Law 2018, violated sections 1,4,5, items 11 and 63 of the exclusive legislative list in part 1, second schedule to the constitution.
He argued that it also offended section 10(3)(t) of the Federal Road Safety Commission (Establishment) Act, section 92 of the Federal Road Safety Commission (Establishment) Act, and section 1 of the Federal Highways Act/Subsidiary Legislation Cap F13, LFN, 2004.
In his judgment delivered on January 12, 2023, justice Aluko aligned with the defendants that the suit did not hold water.
The court stated that section 4(3) of the Constitution gives the National Assembly power to make laws concerning any matter in the exclusive legislative list to the exclusion of the Houses of Assembly of States.
The judge held: “The plaintiff has referred the court to items 11 and 63 of part 1 in the exclusive legislative list which have to do with construction, alteration and maintenance of such roads as may be declared by the National Assembly to be Federal trunk roads and traffic on Federal trunks roads.
“The plaintiff has,however, failed to show to the court that all the over 40 roads and bridges listed in his reliefs are federal trunk roads declared by the National Assembly as provided under items 11 and 63 in the Exclusive Legislative list under part 1 of the 2nd schedule to the Constitution.
“The plaintiff failed to establish before the court that the provisions of sections 15, 16, 19, 46 and 68 of the Lagos State Transport Sector Reform Law 2018 were made to apply to the operations of tricycles and motorcycles in respect of the over 40 roads mentioned in his reliefs.”
The judge noted that the plaintiff’s “failed woefully to prove his entitlement to the reliefs stated in the originating summons.
“The plaintiff has failed to establish that the State House of Assembly has no power to have made the law in contention and has equally failed to establish that the State government has no power to ban the operation of tricycles and motorcycles in respect of the designated roads in Lagos State.
“Granting the reliefs of the Plaintiff without placing any credible evidence before the court is tantamount to preventing the State House of Assembly from making laws for the peace, order and good government of the state or any part thereof and engaging in such venture will undoubtedly constitute a violation of and amount to overrunning section 4(7)CFRN, 1999 (as amended).
“That is forbidden and this court will not venture into such unconstitutional enterprise.
“Coming from the foregoing, the plaintiff has failed to prove his case by credible evidence as required by law. Accordingly, the case of the Plaintiff lacks merit and same is hereby dismissed.”