JUST IN: Court declares Omo-Agege's suspension 'null and void'

Omo-Agege Senate appeals suspension nullification

On April 13, the senate slapped a 90-day suspension on Omo-Agege for challenging its proceedings in court.

Omo-Agege, who is the federal lawmaker representing Delta Central in the Senate, was recently suspended for 90 legislative days by the upper chamber of the National Assembly, for speaking against the Senate's bid to re-order the sequence of the 2019 general elections.

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.

"Access to court is a constitutional right that can not be taken away from".

The judge, in a judgment delivered on Thursday, held that though the legislature has the power to deal with erring members, it did not follow due process in arriving at its decision.

The court noted that the Ethics and Privileges Committee of the Senate recommended that Omo-Agege should be suspended to punish him for instituting legal action against the legislative house.

The principle of natural justice, the judge said, was also breached by the Senate's Ethics and Privileges Committee when it allowed Senator Dino Melaye who was the complainant to participate in the committee's sitting that consider the issue and also allowed him to sign the committee's report.

"This court is minded to say that the reason for the suspension of the plaintiff by the 1st and 2nd defendants was unconstitutional", he court held.

"This decision by the 1st defendant's (Senate's) committee to recommend that punishment be meted out to the plaintiff for approaching the court as a deterrence to others is a great violence on Sections 4 (8) and 6 (6) (b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria", the judge ruled.

"The exercise of a constitutionally given right can not be a basis for punishment, including in the legislature".

While the court denied granting any of the seven prayers sought by the senator, ‎it however ruled that the suspension could not hold on grounds of the "violence" it did to the constitution.

After reviewing the committee's report, Mr Omo-Agege was suspended by the Senate for 90 legislative days.

The Senate and Saraki had through their lawyer, Mahmud Magaji (SAN), queried the competence of the suit, insisting that the court lacked the requisite jurisdiction to entertain the case which they said was an internal affair of the legislature.

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