By Gabriel Enogholase
BENIN — Commercial motorcycle operations, commonly called Okada in Edo State, have dragged the state government before a Federal High Court sitting in Benin City, challenging the recent ban on their operations by the state government.
It will be recalled that the Okada operators were recently banned from operating in three local government areas in Benin metropolis.
They are contending in the suit that the ban constituted a violation of their rights to fair hearing and freedom of movement as guaranteed by the Constitution of Nigeria as amended and Articles 7 and 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
The Okada operators in the suit by their counsel, Mr Dele Igbinedion, described the ban on their operations by the state government as unconstitutional and illegal.
Plaintiff, Mr. Charles James on behalf of himself and others is contending that the governor does not have powers to verbally ban Nigerians from using their validly licensed motorcycles; neither can he make laws nor abrogate existing Road Traffic Laws.
In a 24-paragraph affidavit, he averred that Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s verbal ban impliedly cancels his licences, all duly obtained and still valid, adding that the duty of the governor, “is to execute laws validly made by the state House of Assembly,” insisting that the threat to confiscate and destroy his Okada with valid registration number QC 093 GBZ, was ultra vires.
The applicant is therefore, praying the court to perpetually restrain the respondents by themselves, agents, servants or privies, howsoever, from carrying out the orders of the governor in the affected local government areas.
He also want the court to set aside Oshiomhole’s verbal ban on the use of motorcycles from plying all roads in the three affected councils, which took effect from Sunday, June 16, 2013 and N50million as damages against the respondents as general and or exemplary damages/compensation for the breach of his fundamental rights.