By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA- The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has nullified the suspension of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege by the Senate.
The court, in a judgment by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, held that the reason the Senate adduced for suspending Omo-Agege for 90 legislative days, was unconstitutional.
The court noted that the Ethics and Privileges Committee of the Senate recommended that Omo-Agege should be suspended to punish him for instituting legal action against the legislative house.
Justice Dimgba held that while the Senate has the powers to sanction its erring members to protect its integrity, he said no institution or authority has the powers to strip any citizen his right of access to the court.
Besides, the Judge noted that whereas sections 67(4) of the Senate Standing Rules 2014 and section 21(2) of the Legislative Houses Powers and Privileges Act, okayed the suspension of any erring lawmakers for 14 legislative days, the Senate went ahead and handed Omo-Agege 90 days suspension.
“The suspension of the plaintiff for 90 days is ultra-vires of powers of the 1st defendant (Senate)”, the court held, adding that “any suspension of member of the Senate such exceeds 14 days is null and void and unconstitutional”.
The court voided Omo-Agege’s suspension after it declined to grant any of the seven reliefs he sought in his suit.
Justice Dimgba said his decision to set-aside the action of the Senate was based on prayer eight in the suit that urged the court to make any order it deems fit in the circumstance of the case.
Consequently, he ordered the Senate to recall the plaintiff immediately and equally pay him any salary or allowance that accrued to him within the period he was illegally suspended.
It will be recalled that Senator Omo-Agege who is representing Delta Central Senatorial district had in his suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/314/2018, prayed the court to quash his suspension and declare that he was illegally barred from attending plenary at the Senate.
Aside the Senate and its President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, was equally cited as a defendant in the suit dated March 26.
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