By Abdulwahab Abdulah & Onozure Dania
Justice Steven Adah of the Federal High Court Lagos yesterday stopped Lagos State government from imposing ban on operation of commercial motor cyclists popularly called ‘Okada’ in the state.
The judge in a ruling on an application filed by the motorcyclists asking the court to determine whether the government has the power to impose ban on their operation in view of the constitution, prayed the court to declare among other things that the proposed ban and restriction of their operations would constitute a violation of their constitutionally-guaranteed freedom of movement.
Given his ruling, the Judge held there was no valid law enacted by the state government that empowered it to impose ban or restrictions on their operations.
The court therefore pronounced that the alleged ban or restriction by the government is null and void until the law is enacted by the state House of Assembly.
The court observed that the constitution guaranteed freedom of movement even though such right is not absolute.
Supporting government’s position that it has power to make law for good governance, Justice Adah said that government can restrict freedom of movement for reasonably justifiable reasons such as public defence, public order, public safety, public morality and public health, which must also be backed by valid law passed by the State House of Assembly or the National Assembly.
Justice Adah said for the ban on okada to have effect, the state House of Assembly must passed such government’s decision into law.