The embattled lawmaker, Ovie Omo-Agege, on Tuesday told an investigative panel he would not comment on the subject he was invited for.
The panel was set up by the Senate and the House of Representatives to investigate the Senate invasion and mace theft last month.
The committee invited Mr Omo-Agege to give a brief on his role in the saga after he was accused of leading the hoodlums.
Mr Omo-Agege was alleged to have led the hoodlums to the Senate chamber. The thugs carted away the mace, the Senate’s symbol of authority. The mace was later found by the police.
Mr Omo-Agege told the committee that he has filed a court order restraining the public hearing and that speaking about his role will only amount to a subjudice.
The chairman of the committee, Bala Ibn Na’Allah, challenged him on the court order he was referring to.
Mr Omo-Agege in response said he has instituted a court process in which Mr Na’Allah and others are party to.
A copy of the court paper cited by PREMIUM TIMES had the Senate, the Senate President, Mr Na’Allah and other members of the ad-hoc committee, the clerk of the Senate, the Attorney-General of the Federation, the Inspector-General of Police, and the State Security Service as parties.
The proceedings with the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/531/ 2018 was filed on May 21.
Mr Na’Allah said he was not served any court paper, hence the hearing can proceed. Other lawmakers on the panel queried Mr Omo-Agege on the authority he is relying on for making such move.
Mr Na’Allah specifically wanted Mr Omo-Agege to say if it is right for a lawmaker to institute court proceedings just to stall Senate probe.
“Does that mean that if someone is not happy with the budget, he can go to court,” he questioned.
“The issue is none of us here who has been allegedly put on that court order had been served,” he added.
Again, Mr Omo-Agege replied that he would not answer the question posed to him because of the court process. He said he is relying on Order 3(5) of the Senate standing order for his decision.
The order restricts the Senate from probing a case that is already in court.
Mr Na’Allah in response said he holds the authority to decide whether the matter will amount to subjudice or not.
“This is not a proper authority to rely on,” he said. “You are taking my role as chairman. I have the right to decide whether an issue will be subjudice.”
The co-chairman of the committee and member of the House of Representatives, Betty Apiafi, insisted Mr Omo-Agege must give his account.
Quoting section 62 the Nigerian constitution, she said the senator’s court proceeding does not stop him from speaking before the committee.
“The constitution does not give legal rights to stop our processes,” she said.
Ruling, Mr Na’Allah said there is ‘nothing legally stopping’ the committee from proceeding. He, however, said Mr Omo-Agege will be allowed to choose whether he would speak or not.
Mr Omo-Agege said he would not speak until the matter is settled in court.
He read the title and parties to the case to put his action “on record.”
He said further, “I want to state one more time that in respect to the summons, I appeared today. But I have decided because I have a pending action in court, which action was commenced yesterday…
“All of the parties I named have been duly served and I have a proof of Service.
“As a consequence of this, I have decided that i will wait until the outcome of this before I give any testimony.”