Senator Ovie Omo-Agege
The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Wednesday dismissed an application brought before it by the Senate, seeking a stay of execution of the May 10, 2018 judgement of the court, which nullified the suspension of the Senator representing Delta Central Senatorial District, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege from the Upper legislative chamber.
A report by Nigerian Tribune stated that trial Judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, while dismissing the application by the Senate and its President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, which was argued by their counsel, Mahmud Magaji (SAN), said the application was misdirected and lacking in merit.
The application for stay of execution of the court judgment filed by the Senate followed a notice of appeal filed at the Court Appeal, Abuja Division, which Justice Dimgba held was not proper before the court.
Counsel to Omo-Agege, Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN) had while objecting to the application said he thought the Senate will withdraw the application because it said it will obey the judgment of the Court.
“How can they come to this court to ask for a stay of judgment execution when my client was punished for coming to court, in the first place.
“In a decent society, the Senate is not supposed to come before this court because their hands are full of iniquities,” Izinyon told the court while urging it to dismiss the application.
The Judge said, the present application which the Senate sought a stay of execution of the nullification of the suspension of the Senator from the Senate, did not align with the judgment he delivered on May 10.
He said, the instant application did not target the judgment that vacated the suspension order, but on other reliefs which the plaintiff sought and the court declined to grant.
“An application must target decision reached by the court. This application is targeted at different decision reached by this court. I hereby dismiss the application for lack of merit,” the court held.
Dimgba recalled that he dismissed, among other reliefs the request by Omo-Agege to stop the Senate from punishing him for any offence he has committed.
The Judge said that if an application is appealing against reliefs he refused to grant, is of no significance to the vacation of the suspension order.
“The Judgement of 10th of May 2018 declined some of the reliefs of the plaintiff. I have not seen any reason for this application. I hereby dismiss it for lacking its merit,” he held.
Justice Dimgba had, on May 10 nullified the suspension of Senator Omo-Agege from the Senate.
Omo-Agege had approached the court with a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/314/2018, challenging his suspension from the Senate, saying it was illegal.
Dimgba, in his judgement, held that the suspension of the Senator during the pendency of the suit was unconstitutional and an affront on the judiciary.
The court noted that it was wrong for the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to suspend Omo-Agege for going to court after he had apologised over his comments against the Senate.
Justice Dimgba held that the decision of the Senate to suspend Omo-Agege for instituting the suit was a clear breach of Section 4(8) and 6(b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, saying that, “Access to court is a constitutional right that cannot be taken away from. Judiciary is the hope of the common man and access to court is one of the key indicators of democracy and rule of law.
“This court is minded to say that the reason for the suspension of the plaintiff by the 1st and 2nd defendants was unconstitutional,” Justice Dimgba said and ordered the Senate to pay Omo-Agege all his salaries and allowances.
He maintained that suspending the Senator for more than 14 days was denying his constituents the required representation and held, however, that the legislature had the powers to sanction any lawmaker who set out to make comments or act in a way that could bring disrepute to the institution.
According to him, Omo-Agege’s right was not breached when the Senate referred him to its committee on Ethics, Privilege and Public Relations.
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