By Gbenga Olarinoye
OSOGBO—AN Osun State High Court sitting in Ilesa, yesterday, barred the state government and its agents from arresting or prosecuting the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, Chairman, Ilesa branch, Mr. Kanmi Ajibola.
Members of the NBA, Ilesa branch had approached the court asking for an ex-parte order restraining Governor Rauf Aregbesola and the state agents from victimizing Ajibola over the issue of tax or any other related matter pending the determination of suit filed challenging the constitutionality of the State Tax Law.
Leading 32 lawyers, Mr. Nathaniel Folorunso argued that granting the injunctive application should be considered necessary based on the situation at hand with the affidavits and exhibits attached to it.
In his 43-page affidavit, Ajibola alleged that the Governor has vindictively, speculatively imposed a heavy tax of over N5.3 million on him and that in January 2018 alone, he was issued a bill of N577,000 as tax, saying “the imposition of which is unprecedented to any person or persons in my class and cadre.”
In his ruling, Justice Kola Adegoke ordered the governor and any of his officials from victimizing, persecuting, causing the arrest, arraignment, prosecution of Ajibola in his court or any other court, on a tax or other related matters pending the hearing and determination of a substantive case before him.
Justice Adegoke ordered that all necessary papers be served on the defendant and adjourned to April 16 for further hearing.
Meanwhile the NBA, Ilesa Branch has petitioned the Inspector General of Police IGP, the Director-General of State Security Service, SSS and the NBA at the national level over the alleged threat to life of Barrister Ajibola.
In the petition signed by NBA, Ilesa Branch Secretary, Mr. Olayinka Sokoya, the association urged that the petition be treated with diligence and swiftness “as we do not wish to wait until the threat is carried out.”