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Abuja court orders Anambra govt to stop levies, harassment of Tricycle operators

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ABUJA – A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting at Kwali, on Monday, issued an order restraining illegal revenue collectors, touts and louts operating in Anambra State from harassing, intimidation, assaulting, extorting vide issuance of tickets and the imposition of dues and levies occasioning forceful distrainment of tricycles belonging to the members of the 1st Applicant by the 1st to 25th Defendants/Respondents in order to maintain public peace.

The court, in a ruling in the motion: FCT/HC/M/7331/19 in respect of suit: FCT/HC/CV/2268/19 that was delivered by presiding Hon. Justice Venchak S. Gaba, voided the collection of dues, levies or sales of tickets to tricycle workers other than the Tricycle Owners Association of Nigeria (TOAN).

It will be recalled that the Human Rights Activist, KeneChukwu Okeke, MCSD had introduced the Tricycle Owners Association of Nigeria (TOAN) to Anambra State Tricycle Workers as the only umbrella body authorised by law to coordinate the activities of all Tricycle workers in Nigeria; and that any other body registered under the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) other than the Trade Unions Act is therefore illegal and cannot impose dues or levies to tricycle workers.

Dissatisfied with the continual harassment intimidation, assault, extortion (issuance of tickets and the imposition of dues and levies occasioning forceful distrainment of tricycles belonging to the members Tricycle Owners Association of Nigeria (TOAN), Anambra State Chapter, the rights activist went before the FCT High Court to challenge and restrain the activities of illegal revenue collectors and protect the interest of tricycle workers in Anambra State.

Okeke asserted that the activities of illegal toll collectors operating at Awka, Onitsha, Nnewi and Ekwulobia grossly injured the average Anambra people particularly tricycle workers. Graphic account was also given on how many a tricycle workers were either maimed or murdered in cold blood by illegal revenue operators, touts and louts.

The rights activist therefore prayed the High Court inter alia to declare that, “1st Claimant, that is to say, Tricycle Owners Association of Nigeria (TOAN) being registered under FORM B of the Trade Unions Act (Cap. T14, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004), recognized by the Registrar of Trade Unions and affiliated to a Central Labour Organization (Trade Union Congress) is the only umbrella body authorised by law to collect union dues, levies, subscriptions or proceeds from the sales of tickets (e-tickets); and to co-ordinate, monitor or regulate the activities of all tricycle workers and employers in the whole Federation of Nigeria or any part thereof, including Anambra State. The Court was further asked to declare that “1st to 25th Defendants not being a trade union or members of a registered trade union, and having formed unlawful or anti-trade union associations (KKAWAAPU Amalgamated Tricycle Union of Anambra State and Unified Tricycle Owners and Riders Association of Anambra State, UTORAAS) is having for its object, an unlawful activity which encourages its members to undertake such unlawful activities.”

He also prayed for, “an order of perpetual injunction doth issue, restraining the 1st and 2nd to 25th Defendants either by themselves or their agents, privies, servants, whatever, whomsoever designated from further issuance of levies, dues, sales of tickets but not limited to the harassment, intimidation, molestation and extortion of members of the 1st Claimant.”

The Court held therefore inter alia that the Defendants/Respondents should desist forthwith from harassing, intimidating, assaulting, extorting (vide the issuance of tickets and the imposition of dues and levies occasioning forceful distrainment of tricycles belonging to the members of the 1st Claimant/Applicant by the 1st to 25th Defendants/Respondents.

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