ABUJA FEDERAL COURT NULIFIES OMO AGEGE SUSPENSION.
The Federal High Court in Abuja has nullified the suspension of the Delta Central Senator , Ovie Omo -Agege, by the Senate , describing the action as unconstitutional .
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba , in a judgment that lasted one hour on Thursday , held that while the National Assembly had the power to discipline its erring members , the premise on which Omo -Agege’s suspension was anchored was illegal .
Although the court refused to grant any of the seven prayers sought by the senator , it held that the suspension could not hold on grounds of the “violence” it did to the Constitution .
The judge noted that from the wording of the report of the Senate ’s Ethics and Privileges Committee which recommended Omo – Agege’s suspension , he was punished for filing a suit against the Senate after apologising to the legislative house over the allegation leveled against him .
“Access to court is a fundamental right in the Constitution , which cannot be taken away by force or intimidation from any organ ,” the judge ruled.
The judge also added that the Senate ’s decision to punish Omo -Agege for filing a suit against the Senate and for punishing him while his suit was pending constituted an affront on the judiciary .
He added that even if the Senate had rightly suspended the senator, it could only have suspended him for only a period of 14 days — as prescribed in the Senate rules .
He also ruled that the principle of natural justice was breached by the Senate ’s Ethics and Privileges Committee by allowing Senator Dino Melaye , who was the complainant , to participate in the committee ’s sitting that considered the issue and also allowed him to sign the committee ’s report .
The judge therefore nullified Omo -Agege’s suspension “with immediate effect . ”
He also ordered that the senator be paid all his allowances and salaries for the period he was illegally suspended.