Okada Riders Drag Akeredolu To Court Over Alleged #800M Ticket Extortion

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Commercial motorcyclists in Ondo state popularly known as Okada riders have dragged Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu to the State High Court sitting in Akure for alleged extortion and violation of their Fundamental Rights to Freedom of Association. 
In the suit marked AK/70M/2018 filed at the Court, the Okada riders under the trustees of the Amalgamated Commercial Motorcycle Owners and Riders Association of Nigeria (ACOMORAN) described as unconstitutional and illegal the forceful take-over of the printing and sales of N150 daily revenue tickets to Okada riders in the State by the Ondo State Board of Internal Revenue.
In a 30-paragraph affidavit suit instituted by their Counsel, Mr Femi Emodamori, the Okada riders alleged that the Akeredolu-led administration was forcefully generating over N4.5m daily and N135m monthly from their over 30,000 members in the State since January, this year and has so far made over N800m through the illegal N150 daily tickets.
Two ACOMORAN Registered Trustees, Messrs Akinlolu Olumorin andOwoyemi Thaddeus who are the plaintiffs, also praying the Court declare as illegal, the merging of the Association with other private bodies to form another association known as the Commercial Motorcycle and Tricycle Operators Association of Ondo State, COMTROA by the State Government.
The Plaintiffs alleged that that the government-printed daily ticket was just an extortion and not a tax that is known to or permitted under the Nigerian Law.
Consequently, the Okada riders are seeking N500M damages against Governor Akeredolu, the state Attorney General and the state Board of Internal Revenue, sued as the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Respondents in the suit.
Counsel to ACOMORAN, Femi  Emodamori said no date had been fixed for the hearing.  

"The merger through the Law known as the Ondo State Commercial Motorcycle and Tricycle Transport Operation Law, 2017, is a gross violation of their Fundamental Right to Freedom of Association and Assembly guaranteed by Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution as well as Articles 10 and 11 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights Act".
The Suit indicates, "the Okada riders are also claiming that the forceful take-over of the printing and sale of N150 daily revenue tickets to each of the Okada riders in Ondo State by the Ondo State Government, without which no member of the Association could operate anywhere within Ondo State, is illegal and unconstitutional".

Here is the full reliefs sought by the Okada Riders below:
A DECLARATION that the Applicants are entitled to the Fundamental Right to Freedom of Association and Assembly by virtue of S.40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) as well as Articles 10 and 11 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap A9, Volume 1, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

A DECLARATION that the statutory merger or fusion of the Applicants' Amalgamated Commercial Motorcycle Owners and Riders Association of Nigeria (ACOMORAN) with other distinct or separate associations to form the unregistered association known as "Commercial Motorcycle and Tricycle Operators Association" by the Respondents through the Law known as the Ondo State Commercial Motorcycle and Tricycle Transport Operation Law, 2017, is a violation of the Applicants' Fundamental Right to Freedom of Association and Assembly guaranteed by Section 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) as well as Articles 10 and 11 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap A9, Volume 1, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

A DECLARATION that the printing and sale of daily revenue tickets of the Ondo State Government to members of the Applicants' Association (ACOMORAN) by the Respondents, without which no member of the Applicants' Association could work or operate anywhere within Ondo State even though the ticket sale is not applicable to private motorcycle riders or owners, is unconstitutional and a gross violation of the Applicants' Fundamental Rights to Liberty, Freedom of Movement and Freedom from Discrimination as guaranteed by Sections 35, 41 and 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) as well as Articles 6 and 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap A9, Volume 1, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

AN ORDER of perpetual injunction restraining the Respondents whether acting by themselves or through their servants, agents or privies from further violating the Applicants' Fundamental Right to Freedom of Association by forceful merger or fusion with other separate Associations under the name of Commercial Motorcycle and Tricycle Operators Association or by any other name howsoever called. 

AN ORDER of perpetual injunction restraining the Respondents whether acting by themselves or through their servants, agents or privies from further printing and selling daily revenue tickets of the Ondo State Government to members of the Applicants' Association (ACOMORAN) under the auspices of the Commercial Motorcycle and Tricycle Operators Association or any other name whatsoever called.

The sum of Five Hundred Million Naira (N500,000,000) as general and/or exemplary damages for the oppressive violations of the Fundamental Rights of the Applicants by the Respondents.
    

Leke Adegbite

Radio Nigeria

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