Thursday, 16 August, 2018

JUST IN: Court declares Omo-Agege's suspension 'null and void'

Ovie-Omo-Agege Omo Agege Floors Senate As Court Overturns His Suspension Nigeria Politics By Olu Isaac On
Kayla Schwartz | 13 May, 2018, 22:19

Omo-Agege had said the legislation "unfairly" targeted President Muhammadu Buhari.

The judge ordered the Senate to recall the plaintiff immediately and equally pay him any salary or allowances that accrued to him within the period he was illegally suspended. "While this suit was pending, and to the knowledge of the Senate and the Senate President, they went ahead and imposed a sanction on him".

"Access to court is a constitutional right that can not be taken away by force or intimidation", Justice Dimgba held. According to Dimgba, where the actions of the Senate are found to be in violation of constitutional provisions, the Section 4 (8) becomes fully applicable by the Judiciary. The court however also ruled that the Senate had the power to punish its members.

The Senate and the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki who is the second defendant in the case, also filed for a stay of execution of the nullification of the suspension.

He maintained that suspending the senator for more than 14 days was denying his constituents the required representation. "I make no order as to cost". He also said the cited provision states that the Senate can not take a decision that will tend to oust the functions of the Judiciary.

"While the legislator has powers to take disciplinary measures against its members, the reason given for the punishment is an unconstitutional reason".

"That will not amount to usurpation of the power of the court since it deals with image and public perception of that arm of the government".

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Omo-Agege, alongside nine other Senators, had staged a walkout after the Senate passed the bill.

Recall that on Thursday Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court ruled that the Senate's decision on Omo-Agege, regarding the suspension, as well as the pattern adopted by the National Assembly, was constitutionally defective.

However, Omo-Agege's lawyer, Dr. Alex Iziyon (SAN), urged the court to ignore the objection and grant his client's prayers.

By the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/314/2018, Omo-Agege, representing Delta Central Senatorial district had challenged his suspension from the Senate, saying it was illegal.

He argued that the plaintiff was entitled to freedom of expression under the Nigerian constitution and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.

After reviewing the committee's report, Omo-Agege was suspended by the Senate for 90 legislative days.

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