An Osun State High Court sitting in Osogbo, the state capital, has ruled that the “State of Osun” does not exist and is not an official entity recognised in Nigeria.
Justice Mathias Agboola, the presiding judge, said the name recognised by the 1999 constitution (as amended) is Osun State.
Justice Agboola stated this while delivering a judgement in a case brought before it by a lawyer, Kanmi Ajibola, against the state government over a personal tax of N5.3 million.
Ajibola had approached the court to seek redress over tax demanded from him, which he said was punitive because he constantly contradicted the views of Rauf Aregbesola, the immediate past state governor and current Minister of Interior.
According to the plaintiff, the “State of Osun” which accompanied the notice issued to him by the state Internal Revenue Service to pay amounted to “artistic colouration”.
He urged the court to declare the law upon which the tax was based as illegal since it was a law made by ‘The House of Assembly of State of Osun,’ a body unknown to the constitution.
Defence counsel, M. Popoola, asked that the case be struck out for lack of jurisdiction.
Delivering his judgment, Justice Agboola said lawyers should be wary of legal implications of referring to Osun State as the “State of Osun”.
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He, however, held that Ajibola did not seek all necessary means of settlement before approaching the court.
The judge urged the plaintiff to seek redress through other necessary procedures laid down by the tax law, adding that should such failed, the plaintiff should return to court.