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Court reinstates Omo-Agege with benefits

A Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday nullified the suspension of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (APC, Delta) by the Senate and ordered his immediate recall with…

A Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday nullified the suspension of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (APC, Delta) by the Senate and ordered his immediate recall with full entitlements.

But the Senate filed a notice before the Court of Appeal Division challenging the judgment of the court.

Justice Nnamdi Dimgba yesterday held that the grounds for the suspension of Omo-Agege for 90 legislative days (about six months) by the Senate did not follow the due process of the law, as the action was taken while the Senate was aware of the pendency of the suit before the court.

Justice Dimgba observed that the Ethics and Privileges Committee of the Senate had in its report recommended Omo-Agege’s suspension for filing a suit in court over a proceeding before the Senate to serve as deterrent to others. 

The judge ruled that access to court is a constitutional right of every citizen, adding that the suspension violates sections 4(8) and 6(6b) of the 1999 Constitution and is nullified with immediate effect.

Omo-Agege had in the suit brought by his counsel, Alex Izinyon (SAN) asked for an order of court restraining the Senate, Senate President Bukola Saraki and the AGF from continuing hearing on any allegation he made in the Senate based on Section 24(a) and (c) of the Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act Cap L12 LFN 2004. 

Earlier, the court said the legislature may take measures to discipline any of its members, whose action is capable of bringing the institution to disrepute, adding that it will not amount to usurpation of the powers of the court.

Meanwhile, in the appeal and stay of execution filed yesterday by Magaji Mahmud (SAN), the Senate is challenging mode of commencement of the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Action, arguing that having been filed by Originating Summons, which is against the rules of court, rendered the suit incompetent.

Responding to the ruling, a statement from the office of Omo-Agege said he appreciated the victory, but added that “It is not a victory against the Senate, as there is no war against that great institution. Rather, given his fine understanding of the law, Sen. Omo-Agege believes that there are rare moments that demand the intervention of our courts to enrich the law and our constitutional experience.”

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