An Osun State High Court sitting in Ilesa has said the changing of ‘ Osun State ’ to ‘ State of Osun ’ by the administration of Governor Rauf Aregbesola is illegal .
Justice Yinka Afolabi , while delivering the judgment on Thursday in a case instituted by Chairman , Nigerian Bar Association , Ilesa branch, Mr . Kanmi Ajibola , challenging the legality of the “ State of Osun Land Use Charge Law, ” held that the law and its makers were unknown to the 1999 Constitution.
Aregbesola had changed the name of the state from ‘ Osun State ’ to ‘ State of Osun ’ in 2011; but the NBA chairman , who is a human rights activist , approached the court in 2016 and asked the court to declare as null and void all transactions done by the state with the name ‘ State of Osun. ’
Afolabi also declared that the makers of the law , who are currently serving as members of the State House of Assembly , were not sworn in as members of the ‘ State of Osun House of Assembly, ’ but as members of ‘ Osun State House of Assembly, ’ going by the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution.
He said , “ The executive governor of the state changed the name in 2011. The renaming of a state goes further and deeper for anyone to single -handedly do.
“ To re – order the name of Osun State as “ State of Osun ” is hereby declared as illegal , null and void .
“ On the oath of allegiance, I state that the Seventh Schedule is part of the law . It is not a mere draft or a mere oath . It does not give room for any alteration.
“ After deposing to an oath of office , you cannot turn around to do otherwise , ” Justice Afolabi stated .
The plaintiff had sought an order setting aside the “ State of Osun Land Use Charge Law , 2016, ” having been enacted by the legislative body that is not known to the Constitution and for the state not known to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria ( as amended) . It is not enforceable in Osun State .
Among other reliefs sought , the plaintiff also prayed for “ a declaration that Osun State Government , having been delegated with the power to collect Land use charge revenue by the provisions of sections 2( 2) and ( 3) of the “ State of Osun Land use charge Law, 2016, ” sections 4( 1) , 8( 2) , 10( 1) & ( 5) , 16( c) ( i) & ( ii ) , 17, 18, 21( 3) and 22 of the “ State of Osun Land use charge Law , 2016, ” are not operable without appointing the Commissioner of Finance in Osun State .
Justice Afolabi threw out all the arguments by the State Attorney- General , Dr . Basiru Ajibola , who was the counsel for the governor and the state government and that of the Director of Legal Services , Mrs . Rachel Ojinni, as he granted all the seven prayers of the plaintiff.
Ajibola said the state government would appeal the verdict at the Court of Appeal.