Court nullifies suspension of pro-Buhari senator, Omo-Agege

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Senator representing Delta Central Senatorial district, Ovie Omo-Agege on Thursday said the judgement of the Federal High Court nullifying his suspension from the Senate is victory for democracy.

Nnamdi Dimgba, the judge, said while the national assembly had the power to discipline its erring members, the premise on which Omo-Agege's suspension was anchored is illegal.

The Senator had claimed that the Red Chamber's bid to re-order the 2019 election sequence was targeted at President Muhammadu Buhari's re-election.

Recall that on the 12th of April, the Senate suspended Omo-Agege for 90 days over his remarks on the electoral act amendment bill.

"Access to court is a fundamental right in the Constitution which can not be taken away by force or intimidation from any organ", the judge ruled.

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.

The court faulted the committee's decision to allow Melaye participate during its deliberations on the issue and the signing of its report to the Senate.

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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.

"The exercise of a constitutionally given right can not be a basis for punishment, including in the legislature". Following the suit, the committee recommended that the senator be suspended and he was therefore suspended for 90 legislative days.

Though the court refused prayers one to seven of the plaintiff, however, it relied on the 8th relief which had sought for "any other order as may be deemed by the court".

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".

Following his suspension, Mr Omo-Agege allegedly led thugs to invade the Senate during plenary and still its mace.

"Consequently, the 1st and 2nd defendants to pay the plaintiff any outstanding salary and entitlement within the period of his suspension".

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