Nigerian govt asks court to declare Omo-Agege’s suspension unlawful

Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, Delta-APC. [Photo credit: THISDAYLIVE]
Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, Delta-APC. [Photo credit: THISDAYLIVE]

The Nigerian government has described as unlawful the processes that resulted in the Senate’s suspension of Delta State senator, Ovie Omo-Agege.

Mr Omo-Agege was suspended for describing the Senate’s decision to amend the Electoral Act as a plot against President Muhammadu Buhari.

Mr Omo-Agege apologised for his comments, but was suspended anyway for 90 legislative days for taking the matter to court.

Speaking during Monday’s court proceedings on the application filed by Mr Omo-Agege, Nigeria’s solicitor-general, Dayo Apata, asked the court to regard the processes preceding the suspension as unlawful.

“The action of the Senate leading to the suspension of the senator are unlawful. The court should hold so,” said Mr Apata.

Speaking earlier, the counsel representing Mr Omo-Agege, Alex Izinyon, said the senator sought to challenge the abuse of his fundamental rights.

Mr Izinyon said the procedure adopted by the Senate committee in enforcing the suspension violates Mr Omo-Agege’s rights.

“It is a violation of order 2 rule (2) (3) of the fundamental rights enforcements procedure rule 2009,” Mr. Izinyon said.

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Responding, the counsel for the Senate, Mahmud Magaji, said Mr Omo-Agege had been a member of the same committee and participated actively during the suspension of other members, including former majority leader, Ali Ndume.

Mr Magaji therefore described as surprising the reaction of Mr Omo-Agege to his own suspension.

“He who lives by the sword should die by the sword,” said Mr Magaji.

The court adjourned May 10 for a ruling.

Earlier, the judge, Nnamdi Dimgba, dismissed an application by a counsel representing the Senate committee on ethics and privileges, seeking to be joined in the matter.

The counsel, Paul Erokoro, asked the court to allow his application on the grounds that whatever decision is reached on the matter, ‘will affect his client’.

The application to join was objected by Messrs Apata and Izinyon. Both lawyers said the inclusion of the Senate in the application had rendered unnecessary the addition of any committee under the Senate.

They submitted that documents before the court already showed that the Senate was in charge of every committee or agency under it, so the presence of a committee under the senate was no longer necessary.

The court dismissed the application for lacking in merit.

“I am of the strong and unambiguous view that this application deserves to fail,” Mr Dimgba ruled.

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