Joined as defendants in the suit were the Lagos State government, the Lagos State Attorney General, and the Lagos State House of Assembly.
The suit sought a declaration that the major highways listed in the Traffic Law, where riding of motorcycles are prohibited, are Federal roads within the Federal Highway Act; and, therefore, any attempt to enforce the law on the roads is illegal and unconstitutional.
The commercial motorcyclists also sought a declaration that the defendants have no power to make any law to regulate traffic on any of the federal trunk or highway roads.
According to the motorcyclists, prohibition of their activities on the highways constitutes an unjustifiable violation of their right to freedom of movement.
Also, that the incessant seizures or forceful possession of their motorcycles by agents of the state is a violation of their right to have movable property.
The new Traffic Law “constitutes a wanton and an unjustifiable violation of the defendants’ duty to protect the right of every citizen to engage in any economic activities outside the major sectors of the economy provide (in the constitution),” read the suit.
“It also constitutes a wanton and an unjustifiable violation of the defendants’ duty to ensure that all citizens, without discrimination on any group whatsoever, have the opportunity for securing adequate means of livelihood as well as adequate opportunity to secure suitable employment,” it added.
The commercial motorcyclists asked the court to issue an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants or their agents from prohibiting them from plying the federal highways and trunk roads.
They also asked the court to direct the defendants to release all motorcycles belonging their members in the custody of the defendants and their agents and or officers.
‘Rule of Law’
Justifying his readiness to institute the suit on behalf of the commercial motorcyclists, Bamidele Aturu, stated that they are committed to the rule of law.
“It has become necessary to issue this public statement in order to clarify our position,” Mr. Aturu said.
“Our commitment is to the rule of law and we will support any measure by any of our governments aimed at orderly society and sanitizing our country on the condition that such measures or laws comply strictly with the rule of law and is not targeted at further impoverishing the poor.
“Those who may want to demonise our readiness to challenge this law should remember that when we successfully challenged Lagos State House of Assembly in its attempt to impeach the incumbent Governor of Lagos State by misusing sections 128 and 129 of the Constitution we also relied on the need to preserve the rule of law,” Mr. Aturu said.