By Henry Umoru and Godwin Oghre
STRONG indications have emerged that following the invasion of the Senate by hoodlums last Wednesday and the snatching of its now recovered mace, the Senate and the House of Representatives will decide the fate of suspended Senator Ovie Omo- Agege (All Progressives Congress, APC, Delta Central).
Sunday Vanguard gathered that the Senate, at its executive session, on Thursday, resolved that it will work in synergy with the lower chamber to take a decision on the senator who allegedly stormed the chamber with armed thugs while plenary was in session.
According to a source, at the expiration of the 90 legislative days suspension slammed on him, a position will be taken by both chambers through a strongly-worded letter to the world on the implication of what Omo-Agege allegedly did, adding that the National Assembly will not allow the matter to be swept under the carpet.
The source said, “As a National Assembly, the Senate and the House of Representatives will do a joint letter, stating the position of the lawmakers, with regard to the alleged action of Senator Ovie Omo- Agege who was believed to have led thugs to storm the Senate, disrupted plenary and went away with the mace. We are aware that he is on suspension, but, at the end of his suspension, the position will be taken to guard against any future occurrence. Even after his stay as a senator, the position of the National Assembly will carry a strong weight on his future political career.
But Senator Omo-Agege has been consistent in maintaining that he neither had any thing to do with the thugs, nor did he lead them into the Senate Chambers that fateful day.
The Senate had, last Wednesday, suspended Omo- Agege apparently for kicking against the sequence of elections adopted by the upper chamber which was alleged to have been targeted at President Muhammadu Buhari ahead of 2019 elections.
The senator had also been asked to withdraw his suit against Senate President Bukola Saraki and the Senate from court as part of the conditions to forgive him at the expiration of the suspension.
The Senate mandated that the Parliamentary Support Group( Senate) for President Muhammadu Buhari which Omo- Agege is the Secretary of and Senator Abdullahi Adamu, APC, Nasarawa West the Chairman, must be disbanded immediately.
The decisions of the Senate were sequel to the report of Senator Samuel Anyanwu, PDP, Imo East, led Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions which investigated the senator.
Earlier, the Committee had recommended that Omo- Agege be suspended for 181 legislative days for dragging the upper chamber to court and to serve as deterrent to others, but following pleas from Senate Leader Ahmad Lawan, APC, Yobe North, and Senator Kabiru Marafa, APC, Zamfara Central, for leniency and in the spirit of one family, Senate President Saraki reduced it to 90 legislative days.
The Senate had asked the Committee to summon Omo- Agege over his comments that the new amendment to the Electoral Act regarding the sequence of the 2019 general elections was targeted at Buhari.
Presenting the Committee’s report, Anyanwu said, “Having carefully and fully exhausted all sides to the matter and the inherent implication therefrom for today and the future of the National Assembly, the Committee recommends as follows:
“That Senator Ovie Omo-Agege be suspended for 181 legislative days from the date this resolution is taken to serve as deterrent to other Senators who might contemplate taking the Senate to court over its power to regulate or determine its internal matters.”
And about 24 hours after the Senate mandated the Anyanwu Committee to investigate him, Omo – Agege apologised to his colleagues at plenary.
Omo-Agege, who came under Order 43 of Senate Standing Orders 2015 as Amended, said, “Yesterday, I was not here. My colleague and my brother, Senator Dino Melaye brought a motion under Privileges which is in Order 15 of the Senate Standing Rules. Mr. President, I rose as a consequent on the debate on the sequence of elections in the Electoral Act amendment which was passed last week Wednesday.
“In the course of that debate and subsequent upon that, I addressed the media at the press centre. I made certain remarks during that interview which my attention has been drawn to. The comments are offensive, not just to Senator Dino Melaye, but to the entire Senate.
“I rise to apologise to the leadership and the entire Senate for those remarks. I take back whatever I said. Thank you Mr. President.”
In a related development, Delta State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday, tendered unreserved apology to the Senate and the National Assembly on the Omo-Agege saga, saying what happened was a clear testimony to the kind of leadership the All Progressives Congress, APC, was giving to Nigerians “and a dangerous early warning signal of what and how they intend to prosecute the 2019 general elections.”
In a statement, the state Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Ifeanyi Michael Osuoza, said, “Delta State PDP condemns the alleged invasion, on Wednesday, of the Senate chamber, and the carting away of the mace. We are shocked and greatly disturbed by the unsavoury incident which occurred in the hallowed chamber of the Nigerian Senate.”
Invasion of the Senate, violation of the people’s institution- Afe
Also yesterday, a gubernatorial candidate on the platform of the Abundant Nigerian Renewal Party in Ekiti State, Rev Tunde Afe, has described the invasion of the Senate as a violation of the people’s institution.
Afe, who asked for immediate investigation and necessary punishment to serve as a deterrence, said it was regrettable that a sacred institution, such as the Senate, could be readily overrun by touts and miscreants.
“The time has come for the security forces to get to the root of the matter because the Senate is a revered institution and should not be violated without necessary punishment”, he said.
“We should avoid needless politicisation of such a heinous crime which can not be justified and all persons of all political persuasion should condemn such action”.