…orders immediate reinstatement
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja yesterday voided the suspension of the Senator representing Delta Central in the Senate, Ovie Omo- Agege, by the Senate. The court, in a judgment delivered by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, held that the reason the Senate adduced for suspending Omo-Agege for 90 legislative days, was unconstitutional.
The court further 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.
The court held that while the Senate has the powers to sanction its erring members to protect its integrity, no institution or authority has the powers to strip any citizen his right of access to the court.
Justice Dimgba further 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. According to him: “The suspension of the plaintiff for 90 days is ultra-vires of powers of the 1st defendant (Senate)”.
He added that “any suspension of a member of the Senate that exceeds 14 days is null and void and unconstitutional”. Justice Dimgba held that 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. Omo-Agege 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 from the Senate and its President, Dr Bukola Saraki, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, was equally cited as a defendant in the suit dated March 26. (New Telegraph)