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Omo-Agege Court overturns Senate's suspension of Delta Senator

The judge said it was unconstitutional for the Senate to punish him while his suit was pending in court.

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Senator Omo-Agege

(The Guardian NG)

An Abuja division of the Federal High Court has ordered the immediate reinstatement of Delta lawmaker, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, nullifying the Senate's decision to suspend him for 90 legislative days.

In a ruling by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba on Thursday, May 10, 2018, he said the Senate can only suspend an erring lawmaker for 14 legislative days.

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 using the bill to plot against President Muhammadu Buhari, he apologised to his colleagues.

When his case was nonetheless 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.

During the ruling on Thursday, Justice Dimgba said it was unconstitutional for the Senate to punish him while his suit was pending in court as it constituted an affront on the judiciary.

He also noted that the Ethics' committee which recommended the lawmaker's suspension should have excluded the participation of Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi West) who made the complaint against him. The court faulted the committee's decision to allow Melaye participate during its deliberations on the issue and the signing of its report to the Senate.

Along with his reinstatement, Justice Dimgba ordered the Senate to also pay Omo-Agege all allowances and salaries owed for the period he was illegally suspended.

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