The Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Anaocha Branch is planning to file a suit against the Anambra State Ministry of Transport over the continuing harassment, intimidation, assault and extortion of citizens in Akwa by unauthorised persons on federal highways.
In the letter to the Commissioner of Transport, that serves as the pre-action notice, the Chairman of Branch’s Public Interest Litigation Committee, A.G. Ogbachalu, Esq, ACIarb [UK], warned that should the illegal acts complained about persist, legal action will be instituted against the state government and ministry of Transport to protect the fundamental rights of the affected persons.
Members of the Committee, viz, A.E. Ezeamalukwe, Esq; E.l. Okoro, Esq; Kevin Ezeoke, Esq; K.O. Obiekvve, Esq; V.S. Iwuchukwu, Esq; Chiadi Obidi, Esq and C.O. Ezemma, Esq., also signed the letter in readiness for the court battle when it becomes expedient.
Re: Pre-action Notice of Our Intention to Sue Government of Anambra State, Ministry of Transport
In Re: Illegal Occupation, Operation And Use Of Trunk A Roads, Contravening Of Vehicles On All Federal Roads Within Anambra State Without Trial by the Anambra Road Traffic Management Agency (ASTA) and Your Ministry of Transport Special Enforcement Team and Usurpation of Powers and Authorities of The Court, Nigeria Police Force and the Federal Road Safety Commission
As Lead Counsel and Chairman (NBA Anaocha Branch-Public Interest Litigation Committee) appointed by the Anaocha Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association as a Committee through which the NBA holds governments, Public Institutions and other authorities in Nigeria accountable to the people of Nigeria by ensuring that their actions/activities are in accordance with the rule of law and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, through litigation, which is in line with its rule of law objective thus on that behalf I write you as follows:
The Complaint as received by the Branch from citizens plying through all Trunk A. B and C roads in the state is that your Ministry constituted a team of untrained individuals with questionable characters into Ministry of Transport (Special Enforcement Team) who now mount all the Federal Highway within Anambra State thus harass, intimidate, assault and defraud unsuspecting members of the public of their hard earned money.
Our instruction is that Messrs: Ukeje Onyedikachi and Ejike Edmund Obumneme were assaulted, threatened with complete annihilation and forced by your Special Enforcement Tearn to pay a whooping sum of N50, 000each totaling N100, 000 which was received in cash and was not paid in any State Government Account by your Agents before their vehicles could be released. It is our understanding that your Agents now use the name of the Assistant Commissioner of Police Onitsha Police Area Command to contravene and or impound vehicles on Truck “A” Roads within Onitsha, which they usually hand down contravention note to their victims.
Further, your special Enforcement Team and ASTA now constitute themselves into Federal Agents and allocate to themselves the powers of the Nigeria Police Force, Federal Road Safety Commission and the Honourable Court.
These illegality and unconstitutional practice of your Special Enforcement Team and ASTA constitute security threat, conduct most likely to cause the breakdown of law and order and has reached an alarming proportion hence this pre-action notice.
TAKE NOTICE: That at the expiration of this Statutory Pre-Action Notice, we shall be constrained to seek the following interpretation from the Honourable Court;
1.Whether by the combined interpretation the Provisions of Section 6 (6), b & c, Part 1 item 63 of the Second Schedule of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and Section 220, 224 and 225 of the National Road Traffic Regulations 2012, the ASTA and Special Enforcement Team of the Honourable Commissioner for Transport can lawfully make regulations to wit; power to issue notice of offence or ticket/contravention Notes on Trunk ‘A’ Roads within the state without encroaching into the powers conferred on the Nigeria Police Force, Federal Road Safety Commission and the Court by the Act and the Constitution respectively.
2. Whether the ASTA and Special Enforcement Team of the Honourable Commissioner for Transport can contravene and impound vehicles without charging same to any Court of competent jurisdiction and for many other declarations to be formulated from questions of law submitted above.
TAKE FURTHER NOTICE: That this Pre-Action Notice is meant as the Statutory Notice to Anambra State Government through your Ministry to retrace its steps, move away from all Truck “A” Roads and stop further impoundment of vehicles and issuance of irregular contravention note and extortion under the name and style of penalty, failure of which we shall be constrained to put the machinery of justice in motion by filling an action against you and join the Anambra State Government as a necessary party to the suit and this we shall do without further recourse to you. You have been sufficiently warned.”
The letter copied the Anambra State Commissioner of Police and the Federal Road Safety Commission Anambra State Command.