In an interesting twist to the controversies surrounding the introduction of the new Lagos traffic laws, the motorcycle riders in the state have dragged the state government to court. The commercial motorcyclists, also known as Okada operators, – under the aegis of All Nigerians Autobike Commercial Owners and Workers Association (ANACOWA) – filed the suit before an Ikeja High Court in Lagos.
The suit, yet to be assigned to any judge, was filed on their behalf by Lagos-based human rights lawyer, Mr Bamidele Aturu. The defendants in the suit are the Lagos State Government, the Lagos State House of Assembly and the Attorney-General of Lagos State, Mr Ade Ipaye.
In their pleas, among other things, the commercial motorcyclists asked for a declaration that the defendants have no power whatsoever to make any law to regulate traffic on any of the Federal Roads. They sought a declaration that “The Major Highways in Lagos listed in Items 1-11 and other parts of Schedule II of the Lagos State Road Traffic Law No. 4 of 2012 are Federal Roads within the meaning of the Federal Highways Act, cap F13, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004”.
They also urged the court to declare section 3(1) of the law which prohibits the riding, driving or propelling of a cart, wheel barrow, motorcycle or tricycle on the Major Highways in Lagos, as unconstitutional. No date has been fixed for hearing yet.