The Federal High Court in Abuja has annulled the suspension of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, by the Senate.
In a judgment that lasted one hour Thursday, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba 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.
Though he refused to grant any of the seven prayers sought by the senator, he maintained that the suspension could not hold on grounds of the “violence” it did to the Constitution, Punch writes.
According to the judge, the wording of the report of the Senate’s Ethics and Privileges Committee which recommended Omo-Agege’s suspension indicated he was punished for filing a suit against the Senate after apologising for the allegation levelled against him.
He further held 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, adding 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.
Furthermore, he 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”, and ordered that the senator be paid all his allowances and salaries for the period he was illegally suspended.