Citizen sues KAROTA for conversion of truck, demands N58.9 million damages
The Kano State Road and Traffic Agency (KAROTA) has been taken before a Kano State High Court over the seizure and conversion of a truck belonging to a citizen, Isiaka Zubair.
The truck owner is therefore demanding for the return of his truck as well as compensation for its conversion and usage by KAROTA.
Isiaka filed a fundamental human rights suit seeking the court’s declaration that “the acts of compulsory seizure and acquiring the applicant’s truck … and forfeiting same to the government of Kano State … amounts to violation of the applicant’s right to fair hearing and right to own movable property as guaranteed by sections 36(3) and 44(1) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) …”
He also wants the court to hold that KAROTA lacks the power to confiscate and compulsorily acquire his truck without resort to a court of law.
He equally asked the court to direct KAROTA and the attorney-general of Kano State to pay him N8, 960, 000.000 as specific damages for the illegal usage of his truck by KAROTA from November 2019 to December 2021.
Apart form an apology from the two respondents, the applicant demanded for N50 million as general and exemplary damages.
Filed on the 24th day of January, 2022, the facts of the case as glimpsed from the 25-paragraph affidavit deposed to by the applicant, was that the applicant parked his truck at the Kofar Wambai motor park and travelled in 2019. He said he was caught up by the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, and when he came back in 2021, KAROTA had moved his truck from the location he parked it.
He informed the court that he saw the truck in town, already painted in KAROTA colours and being used by the agency, and when he wrote through his lawyers, Messrs. Bright Attorneys, to demand for the return of the truck, the agency wrote back to deny taking it.
He said after series of correspondences between his lawyers and KAROTA, the later finally reluctantly admitted to have taken the vehicle and forfeited it to the state government.
He also said KAROTA claimed in one of its letters that it has assumed the roles of premises recovery when it said “the occupant wanted to used (sic) the space but the owner could not be traced…”
He said KAROTA equally arrogated to itself the roles of drugs law enforcement agency and the police when it wrote that “… the vehicle has become a hiding place for drugs, weapons and hoodlums.”
The applicant said he denied all the allegations put forward by KAROTA, saying he did not commit any offence known to the agency’s enabling law.
He told the court that the act of KAROTA had deprived him “to own property and my legitimate earning therefrom.”
Counsel to the applicant in the suit, Usman Umar Fari, argued in his written address that KAROTA “assumed the powers of Rent Tribunal in recovering the premises/space of an unknown person… Can the 1st Respondent do that? The 1st Respondent did not allege in any of its documents that the Applicant has violated any o f the provisions of its enabling law and even if he had done so, it is the Court of law that can confiscate his property and not the 1st Respondent.”
The suit has been slated for hearing on the 15th of February, 2022 before Kano High Court No 17.
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