Osun NBA Battled Aregbesola In Court Over ‘Tax Imposition’ On Gov’t Critic

Osun NBA Battled Aregbesola In Court Over ‘Tax Imposition’ On Gov’t Critic

Undercover investigation, Rauf Aregbesola, Gboyega Oyetola
Rauf Aregbesola, Nigeria's interior minister

Over 70 lawyers stormed the Osun State High Court 3, Ilesa on Monday, April 23, 2018 as hearing continued over the alleged vindictive tax imposed on the human right lawyer and the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Chairman, Ilesa branch, Barrister Kanmi Ajibola by the state government.

The court room was chock-full that the Presiding Judge, Justice Kola Adegoke had to order litigants to vacate seats for lawyers as more chairs were brought from other court rooms to cater for men in the gown.

Ajibola had gone to court challenging the imposition of over N5 million income tax imposed on him by the state internal revenue as punitive, claiming that this was done because he was a staunch critic of the state governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola.

He further claimed that the state government was planning to file a criminal charge against him, a situation that made the court to grant him interlocutory injunction that he should not be arrested or victimized in any way by the state government pending the determination of the case.

While the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Dr. Ajibola Basiru led the defence counsel, the Chairman of Ikeja NBA, Barrister Adesina Ogunlana with about 15 lawyers from Lagos and the oldest lawyer in Ilesa branch, Bar. Nathaniel Folorunso anchored the home based lawyers as counsels to Barrister Kanmi Ajibola.

After a long legal brawl on procedures in the handling of the case, Justice Adegoke counseled that since the matter was becoming tussles involving the bar associations, the parties should see ways of amicable settlement to the matter notwithstanding the suit before him.

However, the Chairman of Ikeja branch of NBA promised the court that all efforts will be put in place to find amicable solution to the matter as the court adjourned the case to May 31, 2018 as the Presiding Judge ordered the parties to report on the said day for either settlement or continuation of the hearing of the matter.

Meanwhile, in the suit filed against the conduct of the last January 27 Local Government elections in the state by Barrister Ajibola, the court has overruled the objection raised by the state governor and other defendants that the plaintiff cannot orally withdraw processes he already served.

Dr. Basiru who represented Aregbesola, the immediate past Attorney-General in the state, Bar. Wale Afolabi who stood in for the All Progressives Congress (APC) and counsels to the State House of Assembly and the Osun State Independent Electoral Commission (OSSIEC) had argued that oral withdrawal of application was contrary to Order 39, Rules 1 and 2 of the State High Court.

They urged the court to refuse to grant oral application for the withdrawal and substitution of his originating summons, written addresses and his affidavits but if such must be done, a written application must be attached to such.

In his ruling, Justice Adegoke disagreed with the defendants’ counsels and overruled their objections saying they have not shown enough reasons to support their arguments, while adding that granting such request will be suicidal to the suit itself as the plaintiff did not seek to withdrawal all the processes he filed.

Justice Adegoke thereafter adjourned the case till May 8, 2018 for hearing of the substantive suit and any other amended applications.


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