Law News
Court adjourns Okada riders’ N1bn suit against Lagos

A Federal High Court in Lagos has further adjourned till June 22, 2015 the fundamental rights enforcement suit filed against the Lagos State Government by motorcycle operators, popularly called Okada riders in the state.

The Okada riders, about 120 in number, had sued the state claiming compensation in the sum of N1bn over alleged unlawful arrest,  detention, torture and seizure of their motorcycles by agents of the state.

The plaintiffs, in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/756/14, claimed that they were arrested by agents of the state on various routes within the state from which the Schedule II of the Lagos State Road Traffic Law, 2012 did not prohibit them from operating.

They are contending that their arrest and the impounding of their motorcycles without being given an opportunity to defend themselves before a competent court of law amounted to a breach of sections 34 and 35 of the constitution.

The plaintiffs, who alleged unlawful arrest, detention, intimidation, embarrassment and torture by agents of Lagos State, are seeking a court injunction restraining the respondents from further arresting and impounding their motorcycles.

Apart from seeking compensation for damages in the sum of N1bn, the plaintiffs also want an order of the court  compeling the respondents to tender published apology to them in two national dailies.

The plaintiffs, who filed the suit marked on behalf of themselves and others, are Yusuf Oladimeji, Aliyu Wamba, Adeniji Musliudeen and Akinkuotu Omoniyi.

Others are Obri Boniface, Tobena Ezeaka, Lateef Ayokunnu and Lembe Lukman.

Listed as respondents in the suit are Attorney General of Lagos State, the Commissioner of Police in the state, the Chairman, Lagos State TaskForce, CSP Bayo Sulaimon, Cpt. John Daniel, Attorney General of the Federation and the National Assembly.

The first plaintiff, Oladimeji, who is one of the executive officers of the Nigerians Automobile Commercial Owners and Workers Association, alleged that the state had unlawfully impounded no fewer than 7,000 motorcycles belonging to his colleagues.

He claimed, “Most of, if not all, cases of arrests and detention of our members and seizure of our motorcycles are not subjected to judicial adjudication by courts of competent jurisdiction before the respondents forfeited them to the state.”

At the Monday’s proceedings, counsel for the plaintiffs, Chief Wakeel Liady, sought the leave of the court to regularise the processes.

The prayer was accordingly granted following which the court adjourned further proceedings till June 22, 2015.

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