JUST IN: Court Nullifies Senator Omo-Agege’s Suspension
The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has nullified the suspension of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege by the Senate.
The court in a judgment delivered by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba on Thursday, said the reason the Senate gave for suspending Omo-Agege for 90 legislative days was unconstitutional.
The judge held that though the legislature has the power to deal with erring members, it did not follow due process in arriving at its decision.
Justice Dimgba noted that the reason given for the suspension of Omo-Agege by the Ethics and Privileges Committee was a fundamental breach of the Constitution and hence the suspension is a nullity.
“It is clear that while the 1st and 2nd defendants (Senate and its President) were right in referring the plaintiff to the Ethics Committee, they went out of track and arrived at the wrong and false end by punishing the plaintiff for exercising his right to access to court.
“Access to court is a constitutional right that cannot be taken away by force or intimidation”, Justice Dimgba held.
He said the action of the Senate in suspending the plaintiff despite being aware of the pendency of the case in court, amounted to “a grave violation of sections 4(8) and 6(6b) of the constitution”, and “tantamount to legislative affront on jurisdiction of the court”.
I am not convinced that due process was followed and that the 1st and 2nd defendants exercised their disciplinary powers rightly”, Justice Dimgba held, adding that Senate ought to have stayed action on the matter pending the determination of the suit before the court.
The judge while declaring that the nullification is with immediate effect, also ordered the Senate to pay Omo-Agege all his salaries and allowances due to him during the suspension.
The court held that Omo-Agege’s suspension from attending plenary for 90 days, denied his constituency their right to proper representation.
“Having analysed the reasons given for the punishment of the defendant as unconstitutional, I hereby nullify the suspension of the plaintiff with immediate effect.
“Consequently, the 1st and 2nd defendants to pay the plaintiff any outstanding salary and entitlement within the period of his suspension. I make no order as to cost”.
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