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Rights groups, Omo-Agege disagree over senator’s alleged forgery, perjury

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A coalition of civil society groups has demanded the immediate resignation of the Deputy Senate President, Mr. Ovie Omo-Agege, over alleged forgery and perjury, in contravention of the 1999 Constitution. Convener of the coalition, Solomon Adodo, who addressed reporters in Abuja yesterday, enjoined the Senate to immediately initiate impeachment proceedings against Omo-Agege in the interest of the nation.

The group also called on law enforcement agencies to initiate fresh prosecution against the senator for allegedly concealing his conviction by the State Bar Court of California, Los Angeles.In the event that the call was not heeded, the coalition threatened to mobilise thousands of civil society and youth groups to occupy the National Assembly until it is purged of corrupt elements.

The group claimed that available evidence at its disposal showed that Omo-Agege was convicted by the State Bar Court of California in case No. 94-C-14401, adding that he wilfully concealed the fact from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Nigerian Senate, thereby contravening the provisions of the constitution and the rules of the Senate.

The group further claimed that in April 22, 1996, one Augustine O. Omo-Agege, believed to be the same Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege, was ordered to be suspended from the practice of law following his conviction for violating California Penal Code section 470, a criminal offence involving moral turpitude, under the authority of subdivision (a) of rule 951, California Rules of Court.

Brandishing documents to support his claim, Adodo, flanked by members of the coalition, added: “As true guardians of democracy and firm advocates of transparency in governance, we are deeply perturbed at the fact that Sen. Omo-Agege concealed all these information from INEC, thus he was allowed to participate in the general elections (contrary to constitutional provisions) that produced him as senator representing Delta Central Senatorial District.” But the senator has faulted the allegation, describing the rights group as a band of unscrupulous mischief-makers bent on tarnishing his reputation.

Omo-Agege, who spoke through his media aide, Mr. Yomi Odunuga, claimed that he was cleared of all charges in the said case and that he was never a convict in the United States of America (U.S.A.) as alleged till date, as he had been travelling to the U.S. without harassment.“Over the past few days, Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, visited U.S.A. and Canada for personal and official reasons respectively, holding aloft the beacon of progressive ideology and an agenda for improving Nigeria’s image internationally,” he said.

The senator added that he would have ignored the allegation, but had to respond to set the records straight.The All Progressives Congress (APC) has been challenged to reverse the statement credited to its national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, that once a politician joins the party his “sins are forgiven”.Former House of Representatives member, Nasiru Dantiye, who represented Babura/Garki Federal Constituency of Jigawa State, said APC had been swimming in disrepute.

He spoke against the backdrop of the call for Omo-Agege to resign for concealing his conviction in U.S.He said the allegation against Omo-Agege was not a new thing, adding that so many things were happening to the APC government to bring it to disrepute.Many people with criminal records are on the National Assembly, including many former governors, he alleged.

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