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Respite came the way of motorcycle (popularly referred to as Okada) riders in Lagos today as Steven Adah, a Federal High Court Judge ruled that the selected ban on Okada riders by the State Government is “arbitrary and dictatorial.”
While delivering judgment today in a suit filed by four unions of the Okada riders, Mr. Adah lambasted the Lagos State Government for using the excuse of insecurity to place a ban on the motorcyclists.
“Errant and criminal bikers can only be prosecuted for an alleged offence as required by law,” Mr. Adah ruled.
The judge therefore granted the prayers of the okada riders by declaring the ban as illegal.
“I hereby grant the order that the okada riders should not be harassed and must be allowed to move freely until there is a legitimate law in the state,” he said
The main reason for Mr. Adah’s ruling is the absence of any legislation to back the state government’s actions.
“It is arbitrary and dictatorial in a democratic setting for government to curtail the movement of others without any valid law passed by the National Assembly or the state House of Assembly,” he said.
The Lagos State Government had through an executive decision placed a ban on the activities of the okada riders in some areas of the state. Motorcycles are a major means of transportation for a large part of the 16 million population of Lagos State.
You can’t seize okadas
The Lagos judge also declared as illegal the incessant seizure of motorcycles by state government officials on the basis that “only the court of that can make an order for such seizure.”
Officials of the Lagos State Government, particularly the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) have the habit of seizing the motorcycles of riders who violate traffic offences.
Mr. Adah however ruled that the ban did not affect the fundamental human rights of the okada riders.

Represented by Bamidele Aturu, the four unions that filed the suit against the Lagos State Government and the Attorney General of the State are Motorcycle Transport Union of Nigeria; Trustees of All Nigerians Autobike Commercial Owners and Workers Association; Trustees of National Commercial Motorcycle and Tricycle Owners and Riders Association; and Okada Welfare Association

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