Court nullifies suspension of Nigerian senator

Court nullifies suspension of Nigerian senator”

A court has nullified the suspension of Ovie Omo-Agege from the Senate.

By the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/314/2018, Omo-Agege, representing Delta Central Senatorial district had challenged his suspension from the Senate, saying it was illegal.

However, the court declined to grant any of the seven reliefs Omo-Agege sought in his suit.

The news outlet reports further that the judge claimed that based on the wordings of the report of the Senate's Ethics and Privileges Committee which recommended Omo-Agege's suspension, the senator was punished for filing a suit against the Senate after apologising to the legislative house over the allegation leveled against him.

"Access to court is a fundamental right in the constitution which can not be taken away by force or intimidation from any organ", said Dimgba Igwe, judge of the high court in the capital city Abuja.

Mr Omo-Agege asked the court to determine whether the Senate had constituted authority to investigate and even discipline a senator, whose case is already before a court of law.

He ordered the Senate to pay Omo-Agege all his salaries and allowances. It had been suspended for 90 legislative days.

Justice Dimgba, however, added that despite the fact that the Senate had a constitutional duty to discipline its members; such disciplinary measures must comply with provisions of the law.

The Senate had argued for changes in the sequence of elections set by INEC, proposing that federal legislative elections should be held first, before governorship and state houses of assembly elections, followed by presidential election.

Judiciary is the hope of the common man and access to court is one of the key indicators of democracy and rule of law, Justice Dimgba said.

The court held that Omo-Agege's suspension from attending plenary for 90 days denied his constituency their right to proper representation.

Justice Dimgba said the court was empowered under section 4 (8) of the 1999 constitution to intervene in affairs of the Senate, "whether internal or external, when it acts beyond it's powers or in breach of the constitution". "I am not the Senate and I won't create words for myself", Abdullahi said.

Omo-Agege was suspended on April 13 over his remarks that the planned amendment to the 2010 Electoral Act was targeted at President.

He argued that the plaintiff was entitled to freedom of expression under the Nigerian constitution and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.

The court disagreed with the plaintiff that to have referred him to ethic and privileges committee was erroneous.

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