13 April 2018

Nigeria: Senator's Constituents Sue Senate for His Suspension

Photo: Premium Times
Nigerian Senate

Members of the Urhobo ethnic group in Delta State have sued the Nigerian Senate for the suspension of their senator, Ovie Omo-Agege.

Mr. Omo-Agege, who represents Delta Central, was suspended after a lengthy deliberation on the floor of the Senate on Thursday over his reaction to the Senate's intended amendment of section 25 of the Electoral act.

The act seeks among other things, to put the date for the presidential election after those of the legislators and state governors, respectively.

During a discussion on the proposed electoral act in February, Mr Omo-Agege described the proposed amendment as a plot against the President Muhammadu Buhari.

Mr. Omo-Agege condemned the adoption of the bill at the House of Representatives stressing that only 36 out of 360 members of the house were present when the bill was read at the lower chamber.

Following a recommendation by Kogi senator Dino Melaye, the matter was referred to the Senate's ethics and privileges committee which recommended a suspension of Mr. Omo-Agege for 181.

The Senate, led by Bukola Saraki however deliberated upon the proposed suspension and reduced the number of days to 90.

The committee said its reason for the suspension of Mr Omo-Agege was because of a court action he instituted after apologising to the house for his comments.

In a reaction to the suspension a group of Nigerians from Mr Omo-Agege's constituency have approached a Federal High Court in Abuja to demand the retraction of Mr Omo-Agege's suspension.

The vanguard newspapers reports that the plaintiffs, namely: Alfred Okaka, Chris Agaga, Kingsley Okrikpo, Harrison Akpojarho, Manny Edu, Lyndon Ugbome, Moses Adegor and Godspower Emowhomuere, are asking the court to declare that the said suspension will amount to a deprivation of the rights of their people from due representation in the Senate.

They are of the opinion that the tenure of the senator: "cannot be abridged, diminuted, suspended, abrogated and or vitiated, except as stipulated by the 1999 Constitution (as amended.)".

The defendants in the suit are: Senate President Bukola Saraki, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, the Senate, Clerk of the Senate, the Department of State Services, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Inspector- General of Police and Senator Omo-Agege.

Similarly, a human rights lawyer, Frank Tietie condemned the suspension of Mr Omo-Agege and threatened legal action if the Senate fails to revoke the suspension.

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