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A Yola High Court has ordered the National Commercial Tricycle and Motorcycle Owners and Riders Association (NATOMORAS) in Numan, Adamawa State, to pay one of its members N638,000 for illegally detaining his tricycle for 34 days.

The group seized the tricycle of Muhammed Abdulsalam over a special levy by NATOMORAS in Numan.

The court awarded N300,000 to Mr Abdulsalam as “general damages for the injury and trauma of wrongful, unjust and unlawful detention of his tricycle despite several demands for its release.”

It also awarded him N238,000 as special damages for loss of earnings as a result of wrongful detention of his tricycle and N100,000 as cost of his legal action.

Mr Abdulsalam, a tricycle operator and resident of Ngbalang village in Numan Local Government area had dragged Pwati Hunkuso and Isiyaka Tukur, Chairman and Vice-Chairman respectively of the association in Numan, and the association before the court for illegal detention of his tricycle.

According to court documents, Messrs Hunkuso and Tukur, who were first and 2nd defendants, are residents of Gweda Mallam, Sabon Pegi and Sabon Pegi in Numan.

The complainant had told the court that sometimes in August 2016, owners and riders of commercial tricycles (Keke NAPEP) protested over rampant cases of theft of tricycles in the area, after which the association introduced a new code number for its members.

Mr Abdulsalam said six days after the protest, he was accosted by the second defendant while conveying passengers and told to pay N1, 000, being the charge for the new code number.

He told the court that he explained to the defendant that his brother had paid N500 from the amount, leaving only a balance of N500 which he was prepared to settle right away.

Mr Abdulsalam said the defendant, not satisfied with his explanation and offer to settle the balance, seized his tricycle and took it to their office where it was detained for 34 days.

The complainant prayed the court to declare that the detention of his tricycle was wrongful, unjust, unlawful and constitutes a violation of his right to own and economically benefit from the use of his tricycle.

He also asked the court to order the defendants to pay him N7000 per day as specific claims for 34 days, and N1.5million as general damages for unlawful detention of the tricycle.

Delivering judgment on the matter, Justice Abdul-Aziz Waziri declared the detention of the tricycle as “unlawful, unjust, wrongful.”

Justice Waziri then ordered the defendants to pay the plaintiff N638,000 as general damages and for the cost of his legal action.

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