The Benin City Division of the Court of Appeal has, on May 18, 2021, overturned the ban on the use of motorcycles (Okada) in the city and environs by the then governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Aliu Oshiomhole.
The appeal, with case file number: CA/B/341/2014, was filed by Mr. Charles Apiloko James and one other against Edo State Government and five others.
In the judgment, the appellate court nullified the governor’s ban on the use of Okada in Oredo, Egor, Ikpoba Okha Local Government Areas and Oluku and Ekosodin areas of Ovia North East Local Government Areas and Eyaen area of Uhunmwonde Local Government Area in 2013.
It upheld the arguments of counsel to the appellants, Dele Igbinedion Esq., that the governor of Edo State lacked the legal powers to ban the use of motorcycles in any part of the state by mere verbal pronouncement.
The then governor, Comrade Oshiomhole, had on June 11, 2013, issued a verbal order banning the use of Motorcycles in the aforementioned areas.
He had also ordered law enforcement agencies to arrest and confiscate and also prosecute any rider of a Motorcycle in the affected areas.
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The appellants, however, filed a lawsuit before the Federal High Court, Benin City, challenging the power of the state governor to declare such ban.
The trial court dismissed the suit, disagreeing that the plaintiffs’ fundamental rights to freedom of movement was infringed.
The Appeal Court, meanwhile, upheld their appeal stating among other things:
“The Governor’s verbal ban of the use of Motorcycles was unconstitutional, illegal, null, void and of no effect whatsoever.”
“An order is issued forthwith setting aside the Governor’s verbal ban on the use of Motorcycles.”
“The sum of N301, 000 (Three Hundred and One Thousand Naira) was awarded as compensation and costs in favour of the Appellants against the Governor of Edo State.”