A Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday set aside the suspension of the Senator representing Delta Central Senatorial District, Ovie Omo-Agege, by the Senate
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, in a judgement, faulted the reason given by the Senate to suspend Omo-Agege for 90 legislative days and described it as unconstitutional.
Justice Dimgba, who condemned the Senate’s Ethics and Privileges Committee for recommending Omo-Agege’s suspension for suing the upper legislative house, said the Senate lacks the power to penalise its member for going to court.
The judge said while the Senate has the powers to sanction its erring members to protect its integrity, he added that no institution or authority has the powers to strip any citizen of his right of access to the court.
Justice Dimgba noted that whereas Sections 67(4) of the Senate Standing Rules 2014 and Section 21(2) of the Legislative Houses Powers and Privileges Act allow for the suspension of any erring member for 14 legislative days, the Senate exceeded the provisions by handing Omo-Agege 90 days suspension.
He said: “The suspension of the plaintiff for 90 days is ultra-vires of powers of the 1st defendant (Senate). Any suspension of a member of the Senate which exceeds 14 days, is null and void and unconstitutional,” the judge said.
The judge ordered the Senate to recall the plaintiff immediately and equally pay him any salary or allowances that accrued to him within the period he was illegally suspended.