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Omo-Agege smiles over Senate

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Thursday nullified the suspension of the senator representing Delta central at the, Ovie Omo-Agege, as he triumphed over the Senate in his suit challenging his suspension. The court and described the action of the Senate as unconstitutional.

Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, who ruled on the matter, held that although the National Assembly had the powers to discipline its erring members, that the ground on which Omo-Agege was suspended was illegal.
While the court denied granting any of the seven prayers sought by the senator, ‎it however ruled that the suspension could not hold on grounds of the “violence” it did to the constitution.
According to Justice Dimgba, from the wording of the report of the Senate’s Ethics and Privileges Committee which recommended Omo-Agege’s suspension, he was punished for filing a suit against the Senate after apologising to the legislative house over the allegation leveled against him.
He said, “Access to court is a fundamental right in the Constitution which cannot be taken away by force or intimidation from any organ,” adding that the Senate’s decision to punish Omo-Agage for filing a suit against the Senate and for punishing him while his suit was pending constituted an affront on the judiciary.
The judge further said that even if the Senate had rightly suspended the senator, that it could have only done that for a period of 14 days as prescribed in the Senate report.
The principle of natural justice, the judge said, was also breached by the Senate’s Ethics and Privileges Committee when it allowed Senator Dino Melaye who was the complainant to participate in the committee’s sitting that consider the issue and also allowed him to sign the committee’s report.
Base on all these, the judge nullified Omo-Agage’s suspension “with immediate effect” and ordered that the Senate should pay the senator all his allowances and salaries for the period he was illegally suspended.

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