Court Nullifies Suspension Of Ovie Omo-Agege From Senate

Court Nullifies Suspension Of Ovie Omo-Agege From Senate

A court has nullified the suspension of Ovie Omo-Agege from the Senate.

Along with his reinstatement, Justice Dimgba ordered the Senate to also pay Omo-Agege all allowances and salaries owed for the period he was illegally suspended.

The Senate had on April 13, 2018, suspended the senator for 90 legislative days over his comment that the National Assembly's ongoing process of amending the Electoral Act 2010 seeking the re-ordering of the 2019 general elections was targeted at President Muhammadu Buhari.

The court faulted the senate for punishing Ovie Omo-Agege after he filed a suit challenging some decisions of the parliament, asserting that the suspension amounted to intimidation and an affront on the court.

Omo-Agege asked the court to determine whether the Senate had constituted authority to investigate and even discipline a senator, whose case is already before a court of law.

The judge said, "Access to court is a fundamental right in the Constitution which can not be taken away by force or intimidation from any organ".

Omo-Agege who was referred to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions fr investigations of comments attributed to him, sued the senate asking the court to stop the committee from investigating him.

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The court therefore nullified Mr Omo-Agege's suspension with immediate effect.

"This decision by the 1st defendant's (Senate's) committee to recommend that punishment be meted out to the plaintiff for approaching the court as a deterrence to others is a great violence on Sections 4 (8) and 6 (6) (b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria", the judge ruled.

Punch also reports that the judge ruled that while the upper chamber had the power to discipline its erring members but the reason why the Delta Central Senator was suspended was illegal.

Dimgba said that the reason given by the Senate and the Senate President for suspending Omo-Agege was unconstitutional.

But the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, recommended that it be reduced to 90 legislative days.

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

The court held that Omo-Agege's suspension from attending plenary for 90 days denied his constituency their right to proper representation.