The Abuja division of the Federal High Court, yesterday, nullified the suspension of the senator representing Delta Central, Ovie Omo-Agege, by the Senate, describing the action as unconstitutional. In his judgement, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, conceded that the National Assembly had the power to discipline its erring members, however, the grounds upon which Omo-Agege was suspended were illegal.
Consequently, the court nullified Omo-Agege’s suspension “with immediate effect” and ordered that all his allowances and salaries be paid to him for the period he was illegally suspended.
Meanwhile, there are indications that the Senate would appeal yesterday’s judgement. Although the Senate spokesman, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, could not be reached, a source in the office of the Senate President told Daily Sun that the case would be appealed, while an injunction would be secured to stay action on the implementation of the ruling.
Several phone calls to Adbdullahi went unanswered. At the time of this report, he was yet to return the calls.
Omo-Agege was suspended during plenary over remarks he made at a press conference that the proposed amendment of the 2010 Electoral Act, which changes the sequence of elections set by INEC, was targeted at President Muhammadu Buhari. However, on February 21, 2018, he apologised to the Senate for his comments about the amendment.
The Senate Committee on Ethics and Privileges recommended in its report that Omo-Agege should be suspended for 181 legislative days, but the Senate President Bukola Saraki recommended that it be reduced to 90 legislative days.
Presenting the report on the investigation into the comments made by Omo-Agege, the chairman of the committee, Senator Sam Anyanwu, said that the committee found it unacceptable that, after Omo-Agege apologised to the Senate, he made a U-turn and took the Senate to court over the matter, which was referred to the committee.
Omo-Agege, alongside nine others, had accused the National Assembly of deliberately adopting the conference report on the amendment, which they alleged had a pre-determined motive targeted at President Buhari. The Senate then resolved to reduce the length of his suspension and also asked Omo-Agege to withdraw the court case.
The Senate has also disbanded the parliamentary support group, which Omo-Agege and embattled Senator Abdullahi Adamu belong to.