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Mace Theft Court says Police, DSS can't arrest Senator Omo-Agege

The senator has won an interim injunction against further arrest or detention by security agencies.

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A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory has ruled that Delta lawmaker, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, who allegedly led hoodlums into the National Assembly to steal the mace of the upper legislative chamber cannot be arrested or detained until further notice.

On Wednesday, April 18, 2018, hoodlums invaded the upper legislative chamber in the National Assembly complex, seized the mace of the chamber and fled in a black SUV. This theft was blamed on Senator Omo-Agege and he was arrested after plenary session yesterday.

However, he was released hours later after answering questions over what he described as deliberate and unfair allegations from the leadership of the Senate.

On Thursday, April 19, the lawmaker's lawyers approached the High Court to file for an interim injunction against further arrest or detention of the senator.

According to a report by Premium Times, the team of lawyers, led by Aliyu Umar (SAN), prayed for the court's protection for the lawmaker pending determination of a fundamental human rights case brought against the respondents named as the Nigeria Police Force, the Department of State Security (DSS) and the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation.

The respondents have been ordered to desist from arresting the senator as presiding judge, Ishaq Bello, granted the four-point prayers of the senator's lawyers. The case was adjourned to May 6.

The mace was recovered by the police on Thursday, April 19, after it was found by a passer-by under the flyover before the City Gate in Abuja where the hoodlums abandoned it.

Omo-Agege denies involvement in mace theft

In reaction to the theft, a statement released by Senate Spokesperson, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, named Senator Omo-Agege as the culprit.

"Today, some hoodlums led by suspended Senator, Ovie Omo-Agege, walked into the Senate plenary and seized the symbol of authority of the Upper Legislative Chamber, the mace.

"This action is an act of treason, as it is an attempt to overthrow a branch of the Federal Government of Nigeria by force, and it must be treated as such,"  he said.

After he was released late on Wednesday, Senator Omo-Agege denied that he was responsible for the theft of the mace.

In a statement signed by a lawyer, Lucky Ajokperniovo, he said, "We are aware of several media reports suggesting that Senator Omo-Agege personally removed or encouraged anyone to remove the Mace of the Senate. This weighty allegation is not true at all.

"Following the said media reports on the Mace issue, the Police authorities decided to hear from Senator Omo-Agege. He has told the Police his perspective to help them carry out a proper investigation. He has since left the Police. Senator Omo-Agege trusts them to thoroughly investigate this very serious matter."

Omo-Agege's suspension

On April 12, 2018, Senator Omo-Agege was suspended for 90 legislative days for his conduct in objecting to the electoral amendment bill which is seeking to reorganise the order of elections in the country.

Omo-Agege, alongside nine other Senators, had staged a walkout after the Senate passed the bill. Following criticism that trailed his allegations that lawmakers were plotting against the president, he apologised to his colleagues.

The lawmaker had also been in the Senate's firing line for his involvement with a group called "Parliamentary support group in Senate for President Muhammadu Buhari".

When his case was referred to the Senate Committee on Ethics and Privileges, the lawmaker approached the Abuja division of the Federal High Court to challenge the investigation.

The committee went ahead to recommend a 181-day suspension which was later reduced to 90 by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.

Saraki also recommended a termination of the parliamentary support group within the Senate and a withdrawal of the case instituted against the red chamber in court.

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