Court nullifies Omo-Agege’s suspension as lawyers hail, criticise action
The Federal High Court, Abuja, has nullified the suspension of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, who represents Delta Central from the Senate for 90 legislative days.Delivering judgement yesterday, which had the Senate as the first defendant, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki as the second defendant and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malam (SAN) as the third defendant, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba declared the suspension null and void with immediate effect.
He held that the suspension of the senator during the pendency of the suit was unconstitutional and an affront on the judiciary and consequently ordered that the senator be paid all his salaries and allowances.Citing Order 67, Rule 4, of the Senate Standing Rule, the judge held that the Senate lacks the power to suspend any member beyond 14 days as stipulated in the section.
Meanwhile, lawyers have hailed and criticised the decision.Abubakar Sani said it is a highly welcomed development. The court is simply following a precedent. That has been the law even though they have given themselves power under the legislative houses power and privileges Act.
Chijioke Okoli, SAN, said the court is only reemphasizing what the law says. The only problem in Nigeria is that every power any high officer or organ has will not have any meaning unless they are abusing it. The National Assembly has always abused the law. So, I am not surprised on the ruling of the Federal High Court. The court is completely in order. Omo Agege is representing roughly 1/3 of the people of Delta State, effectively, you are denying those people representation. Adetokunbo Mumini says suspending the senator amounts to denying his people the right to effective representation at the Senate.
Dayo Ogunjebe says it depends on the Senate if they wish to appeal the decision. If the courts decision is based on the fact that they suspended senator had approached the court before the suspension was pronounced, then it depends on whether the Senate was put on notice or it was an ex-parte application.On his part, Chris Okeke says every organisation has its own internal rule. And every person who subscribes to that organization must abide by that rule. By the same token, the Senate is empowered to suspend its members for reasons of their own rules. Is the court suggesting that the Senate by its own internal rules cannot control, suspend and discipline their own members? I don’t agree with that
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