by Isi Esene
This might surprise a lot of Lagosians, but the attorney-general of Lagos and commissioner for Justice, Ade Ipaye, along with his predecessor, Prof. Yemi Osibajo have told a Lagos High Court that the state government is yet to commence the enforcement of the new traffic law.
They disclosed this on Wednesday saying the law banning the operation of commercial motorcycles, popularly known as ‘Okada‘, is yet to be implemented.
The two men said this while responding to a suit filed against the Lagos State government by a group representing the commercial motorcyclists called the Incorporated Trustees of All Nigerians Autobike Commercial Owners and Workers Association.
The group is praying the court to compel the Lagos State government to rescind its decision to ban the use of Okadas on major Lagos highways.
Joined in the suit as defendants are the Lagos State Government, the State’s attorney general, and the House of Assembly. Ipaye represented himself and the Lagos State Government; while Osibajo is standing in for the House of Assembly.
While denying the commencement of enforcement, Ipaye told the court that “there are no such facts as alleged by the defendants.”
The Attorney General insinuated that the activities of the enforcement agencies were not directly related to the Lagos Traffic Law.
“The Okada riders went on rampage on Monday…. Enforcement agencies are not parties to this matter. I can’t on their behalf say to this court that they will not do their duty,” Ipaye added.
Bamidele Aturu, Counsel to the motorcyclists expressed shock at Ipaye’s statement saying, “The commissioner of Police takes instruction from the governor in respect of enforcement.”
Reports say the court was filled to the brim with commercial motorcycle operators jostling for space to hear the court arguments first-hand.
The plaintiffs argued that “the defendants have no power whatsoever to make any law to regulate traffic on any of the federal trunk or highway roads listed in Schedule II to the Lagos State Road Traffic Law, No 4 of 2012 and in the Federal Highways Act, cap F13, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”
Aturu prayed the court to grant an accelerated hearing of the main suit “so that we can deal with this matter”.
The Court adjourned hearing to November 16.