A Federal High court in Lagos has upheld the Lagos State Government‘s order restricting the operation of motorcycles (Okada) and tricycle (Keke Marwa) within six local government areas and nine Local Council Development areas in the state.
The Lagos State Government had in January 2020 enforced a law that restrains the operation of both Okada and Keke Marwa in some local government areas of the state such as Apapa LG- Apapa Iganmu LCDA, Lagos Mainland LG – Yaba LCDA, Surulere LG- Itire-Ikate and Coker-Aguda LCDAs, Ikeja LG- Onigbongbo and Ojodu LCDAs, Eti-Osa LG- Ikoyi-Obalende and Iru/Victoria Island LCDAs, Lagos Island LG- Lagos Island East LCDA.
The ban which came into effect on February 1 states that the riders must not ply 10 major highways and 40 bridges and flyovers across the State.
Presiding over the case, Justice Mohammed Liman stated that the restriction is in line with the provisions of the Transport Sector Reform Law, 2018.
The judge also dismissed for lack of merit, a fundamental rights suit filed by a lawyer, Olukoya Ogungbeje, seeking to reverse the ban by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
While delivering judgment in a Suit no. FHC/L/CS/173/2020 between Olukoya Ogungbeje V Lagos State Government & 7 Ors, the court said it assumed jurisdiction in the case on the premise that both the Federal High Court and State High Court exercise concurrent jurisdiction over fundamental human rights cases.
“The restriction of motorcycles, tricycles within six Local Government Areas and nine Local Council Development Areas in the State is not an infringement of Fundamental Human Rights,” Justice Liman held.
He said that Ogungbeje, who admitted being a car owner and not a motorcycle or tricycle operator, could not complain of his right in any form being infringed on by the executive order. Justice Liman therefore dismissed the applicant’s originating summons for lacking in merit.
Similarly, a Lagos-based lawyer, Julius Ajibulu, had filed a suit last year, seeking the reversal of the ban placed by the Lagos State Government on the operation of commercial motorcycles and tricycles in the mentioned areas.
Ajibulu said the ban on okada and Keke Marwa, without a replacement or an alternative means of transportation, had subjected Lagosians to untold hardship and taken away the source of livelihood of the operators.
Ajibulu claimed that the proscription had led to a massive unemployment rate and increase in crime and insecurity in the State.
According to the lawyer, the ban further violated his fundamental rights and those of other Lagosians under sections 33, 34, 36, 38, 41 and 42 of the 1999 Constitution. He also sought damages in the sum of N1bn as well as a public apology in newspapers.