Kano High Court slams KAROTA MD over lawlessness, illegality
A High Court in Kano State has warned the managing director of Kano Road Traffic Agency (KAROTA), Baffa Babba DanAgundi, against acts of lawlessness, asking him to respect orders of courts and desist from taking law into his hands.
Justice Nasiru Saminu of the state High Court was furious with the way DanAgundi’s KAROTA has been ignoring court orders, asking the authority not to constitute itself into a court of law by arresting motorists, charging them with offences and fining them without recourse to the court.
Justice Saminu said this while giving judgement in the case of Bello Basi & 8 others v KAROTA on Monday, where he expressed fears that KAROTA’s notoriety for disregarding laws is a recipe for anarchy.
Bello and his co-plaintiffs have taken KAROTA to court to challenge the N2000 fine slammed against them for riding their private motorbike with their families and friends.
They kicked against KAROTA’s new revenue-driven order that every private motorbike owner who desires to ride with a passenger must first purchase a certain permit or be fined when caught without one.
Not been commercial motorbike riders, they said it was unconstitutional for KAROTA to subject them to such an illegal process before they can ride with their spouses or children. They therefore sought the order of the court to declare KAROTA’s act as unconstitutional and illegal.
The court granted the declaration they sought and asked KAROTA to desist henceforth from arresting private motorbike owners who ride with people they wished.
The court also declared for the umpteenth time that KAROTA lacks the powers combine the roles of an arresting, prosecuting as well as adjudicatory agents.
Justice Saminu had some harsh words for the legal advisers of KAROTA also, telling them that as ministers in the temple of justice, they must be seen to be upholding the sanctity of the law, and not to be kowtowing the whims and caprices of head of the agency.
He ordered KAROTA to refund the fines it took from three of the plaintiffs who produced evidence of payment of fines and also pay them exemplary damages of N500, 000 each, in addition to N100, 000 as cost of prosecuting the case.
Counsel to the plaintiffs, A. K. Maude, was quoted by Kano-based online news medium, NigerianSketch, to have said there are pending judgements from the same court and the Federal High Court with similar orders which KAROTA has continued to ignore.
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